Fifth Atlas V Launch
updated: Jul 30, 2012, 12:00 PM
Source: Launch Alert
Team Vandenberg is scheduled to launch a
United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a National Reconnaissance
Office payload from Space Launch Complex-3 here Aug. 2 at 12:40 a.m.
Vandenberg's 4th Space Launch Squadron is in final preparations for launch
with Vandenberg's mission partners from ULA, the Aerospace Corporation,
Space and Missile Systems Center and the NRO.
This launch will include auxiliary payloads, which are a first for the NRO
and any Atlas V mission.
ULA redesigned the Atlas V upper stage pressure system to provide more
volume and structural capacity in the upper stage to accommodate the
auxiliary payloads. The NRO and ULA partnered to develop an Aft Bulkhead
Carrier, which will be used for this mission. Affixed to the ABC will be an
Operationally Unique Technologies Satellite. The OUTSat consists of 11
Cubesats in various configurations. The Cubesats that will be launched on
this mission are sponsored by the NRO Mission Support Directorate and NASA's
Launch Support Program and were developed by a number of laboratories,
universities and government entities. The Cubesats will demonstrate
technologies, conduct scientific experiments and prove operational concepts.
Atlas V is part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle family. The program
began in the 1990s with the goal of making government space launches more
affordable and reliable and resulted in the development of two launch
systems, Delta IV and Atlas V, both operated from Vandenberg and Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The 4th SLS was formed in 1994 to support Titan missions at Vandenberg's
Space Launch Complex-4, then re-chartered in 2003 to operate the Atlas V and
Delta IV launch systems. Today, the squadron executes Western Range Evolved
Expendable Launch Vehicle spacelift operations with a combined team of
engineers, space operators, program managers and missile maintenance
technicians. The squadron's core competencies include mission assurance,
launch campaign integration, system sustainment and launch operations, each
of which is critical to the safe and successful launch of The United States'
"This is really all about the team effort that's been going on for the last
year," said Lt. Col. Daniel Gillen, 4th SLS commander. "What I've really
come to appreciate is how large this team is and how well everyone has been
working together . everyone. Not only just the guys I work with in the
launch group but also across the wing."
Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex-3 has a long launch history dating to its
first Atlas-Agena mission in 1966.
This event marks the fifth Atlas V mission for Vandenberg and the 606th
overall Atlas mission in U.S. history.
Be the first to comment on this article.
# # # #