ULA launches WorldView-3 aboard Atlas V

WorldView 3 Satellite SensorUnited Launch Alliance sent another satellite into orbit today with the launch of the WorldView-3 satellite via a Atlas V rocket.

WorldView-3 will be the first multi-payload, super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite sensor operating at an expected altitude of 617 km. WorldView-3 provides 31 cm panchromatic resolution, 1.24 m multispectral resolution, 3.7 m short wave infrared resolution and 30 m CAVIS resolution. WorldView-3 has an average revisit time of <1 day and is capable of collecting up to 680,000 km2 per day.

The liftoff occurred on time at 2:30:30pm EDT as the RD-180 engine ignited, 4 minutes, 25 seconds later the first stage completed it’s job and separated allowing the Centaur upper stage to take over.  The WorldView-3 satellite was deployed 20 minutes after liftoff to the planned orbit.

This was the third ULA launch in less than a month and continues a busy year for launches from the US, which should continue in two weeks with another SpaceX launch this time with the AsiaSat-6 payload.

At the bottom of the post are images captured from the ULA webcast.

In related news ULA announced that CEO Michael Gass who has led the company since it’s inception in 2006 would be retiring and would be replaced by Tony Bruno, who was brought in from Lockheed Martin Corp’s missile division.  Gass will stay with the company for the rest of the year to assist with the transition.

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