Inside the Vertical Integration Facility near Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Centaur stage for NASA’s Lucy mission is lowered onto the Atlas V first stage on Sept. 16, 2021.
Lucy is scheduled to launch no earlier than Saturday, Oct. 16, on a ULA Atlas V 401 rocket from Pad 41. NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy Space Center is managing the launch. Over its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, flying by one asteroid in the solar system’s main belt and seven Trojan asteroids.

Additionally, Lucy’s path will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, making it the first spacecraft ever to return to the vicinity of Earth from the outer solar system.

Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-20210916-PH-KLS01_0122 larger image