ULA successfully launches AEHF-4 satellite

Early this morning at 12:15 am EDT United Launch Alliance successfully delivered the AEHF-4 satellite for the United States Air Force.

Using the most powerful version of their Atlas V rocket with a single RD-180 engine and five strap-on solid boosters the rocket soared into the air for an on-time launch.

The Advanced Extremely High Frequency 4 (AEHF-4) satellite was deployed to a geostationary transfer orbit, the satellite is designed to withstand an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and provides jam-resistant, encrypted communications to air force terminals around the world.

This was the 8th launch for 2018 and 131st consecutive successful launch for ULA

ULA launches Mars InSight

United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched NASA’s Mars InSight lander today aboard their Atlas V rocket in the 401 configuration from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Following a smooth countdown, the rocket lifted off at 7:05 AM EDT and approximately 94 minutes later the spacecraft separated from the upper stage to begin its six-month journey to the red planet.

After separation of the main payload, two CubeSats MarCO-A and MarCO-B were also successfully deployed and will accompany InSight on its journey.  They will be used to relay information from InSight during it’s landing on Mars in November.

This was the first time that a spacecraft destined for another planet had been launched from the west coast.

ULA launches AFSPC-11 satellite

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.

ULA launches GOES-S satellite

United Launch Alliance successfully launched the NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) satellite this evening from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 41.

Following a smooth countdown, the rocket lifted off at 5:02 pm EST and successfully deployed the satellite into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit 3h 32m later.

ULA launches NROL-79 mission

Following a smooth countdown this morning United Launch Alliance launched an Atlas V 401 carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Due to the nature of this launch the live broadcast was terminated after the payload separation occurred.

ULA starts it’s 2017 launch manifest

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.

Orbital ATK’s CRS Cargo Missions resume

More than a year after the catastrophic failure of the Antares Launch vehicle which resulted in the lose of the Cygnus Cargo vehicle and its payload Orbital’s enhanced Cygnus vehicle lifted off from Cape Canaveral today with the help of an United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.  The launch which was delayed three times due to inclement weather finally lifted off this afternoon when the Atlas V RD-180 came to life.

Orbital elected to purchase two Atlas V launches to allow it to resume its Commercial Resupply contract with NASA for the International Space Station while the enhancements to its Antares rocket continue.  Orbital were also able to introduce there enhanced Cygnus vehicle which can carry an additional 1,200-1,500 kg of cargo depending on launch vehicle.

 

NASA’s MMS mission launched

Following a smooth countdown this evening NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) satellites launched aboard a ULA Altas 5.  The MMS mission consists of four spacecraft, that will be deployed into orbit later this evening following the second burn of the centaur, and will then begin to deploy there various instruments to allow them to measure the interaction of the magnetic structures around the planet.  The four spacecraft once fully deployed will fly in a pyramid formation allowing them to produce a 3D map of the interactions.

28_Mechanical.pptEach spacecraft carries identical instrument suites of plasma analyzers, energetic particle detectors, magnetometers, and electric field instruments as well as a device to prevent spacecraft charging from interfering with the highly sensitive measurements required in and around the diffusion regions.

The plasma and fields instruments will measure the ion and electron distributions and the electric and magnetic fields with unprecedentedly high (millisecond) time resolution and accuracy. These measurements will enable to MMS to locate and identify the small (1-10 km) and rapidly moving (10-100 km/s) diffusion regions, to determine their size and structure, and to discover the mechanism(s) by which the frozen-in condition is broken, the ions and electrons become demagnetized, and the magnetic field is re-configured. MMS will make the first unambiguous measurements of plasma composition at reconnection sites, while energetic particle detectors will remotely sense the regions where reconnection occurs and determine how reconnection processes produce such large numbers of energetic particles.

NASA have confirmed that the four spacecraft deployed successfully following the second burn of the centaur upper stage.

Below are screen grabs of the launch

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ULA launches MUOS 3 Satellite

United Launch Alliance started it’s 2015 launch schedule with a beautiful launch from Space Launch Complex (SLC) 41 last night.  The most powerful version of there Atlas V family this rocket had a single core and five solid boasters.  The launch was delayed several times due to weather violations but was able to launch within the available window concluding in a successful deployment of the U.S. Navy’s third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite.

The images below were capture from the ULA web cast.

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Atlas V launches successfully with GPS IIF-8 satellite

This afternoon ULA successfully launches another GPS IIF satellite aboard it’s workhorse Atlas V vehicle. This was the third launch attempt around the world within a 24 hour period following the Orbital Antares accident yesterday and the successful Soyuz launch early this morning EDT.

This was the 8th GPS IIF satellite to be launched by ULA, the first 5 abort Delta IV and the others using Atlas V.

Following a smooth countdown the Atlas V’s RD-180 engine roared to life lifting the rocket towards orbit.  At the end of the live broadcast the rocket was coasting to it’s second Centaur firing destination, the satellite will be deployed once the second stage arrives at it’s drop off destination.

The following screen grabs were taken from the ULA live feed.

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