This evening United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-11 satellite on its Atlas V rocket in the 551 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, five solid rocket boosters, and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.
Following a smooth countdown, the rocket launched at 7:13 pm EST, further details of the mission milestones have not been released as requested by the customer. Once we get confirmation from ULA we will update this post.
United Launch Alliance launched their 2nd mission of 2018 with the successful liftoff of the Atlas V carrying the Air Forces Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) 4 satellite which will be placed in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO).
Following a one day delayed due to a valve issue on the pad, the rocket lifted off at 7:48 pm EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Launch Complex 41 and successfully delivered the payload to orbit.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) began it’s 2018 launch manifest with the successful launch of the NROL-47 payload from Vandenburg Air Force Station on Friday 12th. The payload was carried to orbit using ULA’s Delta IV rocket in the 5,2 configuration meaning there was a 5-meter faring and 2 solid rocket boosters attached.
The launch which had been delayed from 2017 to allow ULA time to address an issue found with the rocket was again delayed this week due to weather issue and then technical issues. However, once those issues were addressed ULA successfully launched the payload on Friday. This was the 124th consecutive successful launch for ULA.
This morning at 11:14 AM EDT United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched another Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft towards the International Space Station (ISS). This was the third Cygnus that ULA has launched for Orbital and at the present time the last.
Named after the late John Glenn, former Astronaut and US Senator who passed away last December. The launch was delayed several times to allow ULA time to address some issues with the launch vehicle and pad, and then to accommodate the hectic ISS schedule. The vehicle is carrying 3,459 kg (7,626 lb) of cargo to the space station and will spend at least 80 days at the station before being released. After it is successfully completed its mission another of the Saffire experiments will be performed, where a controlled fire will lite. Once that is complete the vehicle will burn up in the atmosphere.
The countdown proceeded smoothly this morning with an on-time launch, which concluded when the Cygnus spacecraft was delivered to orbit.
This was ULA’s 71st Atlas V, 36th 401 config, 4th launch of 2017 and 119th consecutive successful launch keeping their perfect 100% record.
As a side note, this was the last launch for NASA PAO George Diller who has been the voice of NASA for many launches in the past. We hope that he has a great and long retirement and will miss hearing his commentary.
United Launch Alliance began their 2017 launch manifest with the successful delivery of the Air Force’s Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO-3 satellite.
The launch was originally scheduled to launch yesterday but was delayed due to a sensor issue on the RD-180 engine the Atlas V 401 and then a fouled range with an aircraft encroaching on the keep out zone.
The countdown today proceeded smoothly with an on time launch occurring at 7:41 pm ET from Space Launch Complex (SLC) 41 at Cape Canaveral and delivered the payload to orbit 43 minutes later.
Last night United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft towards the International Space Station (ISS). This is the second Cygnus that has launched on an Atlas V rocket and will be the heaviest payload the Atlas V has ever launched. Even with the heavier payload ULA didn’t require any Solid Rocket Boosters as Cygnus is only launching to Low Earth Orbit.
Continuing in the tradition of previous Cygnus launches Orbital ATK named this vehicle the S.S. Rick Husband in honor of Col. Rock Husband USAF.
Update: After the launch a number of people noticed that the burn time on the Centaur upper stage was almost a minute longer than originally planned. ULA has since announced that this was caused by the first stage RD-180 engine shutting down 5 seconds earlier than originally planned requiring the Centaur to compensate for the difference. They are investigating why the engine shutdown early and don’t currently know if this could impact the next Atlas V launch.