Image Credit & Copyright: ULA of the AtlasV-401 TDRSK-L launch.

LAUNCH ALERT: Tuesday, September 16, at 21:44 UTC (17:44 EDT & 14:44 PDT) a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V-401 Rocket will launch the CLIO satellite for an unnamed U.S. government agency from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41 or SLICK-41) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS).  This mission’s payload is one of the most secret since the launch of Paladium at Night (PAN or P360 or USA207) on September 8, 2009 as we don’t even know which government agency it’s working for or even what the name CLIO is for or represents.  The only thing known about this satellite is that it was built by Lockheed Martin and uses their A2100 series satellite platform.  This also means that launch coverage will likely be very short, cutting off before payload fairing separation takes place.

This launch will mark the 49th launch of an Atlas V rocket and the 25th for the 401 configuration.  This will also be the 60th launch from Cape Canaveral for the ULA.
The Atlas-5 (V) 400 Series rocket is a two-stage rocket that depending on the size of the fairing used stands between 57.3 m (188 ft.) and 59.1 m (194 ft.) with a diameter of 12.5ft (3.81m) and consists of an Atlas Common Core Booster with a Russian RD-180 engine and first stage with a United States RL-10 Centaur upper stage built by AeroJet-Rocketdyne. The vehicle is available in 4 different configurations which are built specifically for each individual mission. Its launch sites are Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Launch Complex-41 (LC-41) or Vandenberg Air Force Base, Launch Complex-3 (LC-3). Performance to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) ranges from 10,470 lb. to 16,970 lb. Performance to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) ranges from 20,650 lb. to 33,360 lb.

401 DESIGNATION CONFIGURATION SUMMARY: 4 = 4.2 Meter fairing (2-shell). 0 = 0 External solid rocket boosters. 1 = 1 Centaur second stage engine.

MAIN PAYLOAD FAIRING (PLF): The Main Payload Fairing for the Atlas-V-401 is a two-shell, 4 m (13.8 ft.) diameter fairing and is used to protect the spacecraft & Centaur during its ascent through atmospheric turbulence and into space. Once safely out of Earth’s atmosphere (Or at least most of it), the fairing is pyrotechnically jettisoned via a debris-free actuating system.

CENTAUR UPPER STAGE: The Centaur Upper stage is 3.1 m (10 ft.) in diameter and 12.7 m (41.6 ft.) in length. It consists of a single Cryogenic RL-10A-4-2 (RL-10) Aerojet Rocketdyne Engine that provides 22,300 lb. of thrust and utilizes liquid hydrogen (LH2) for propellant and liquid oxygen (LOX) as an oxidizer with a burn time of up to 740 seconds to include multiple engine firings. There are also four 27-N (Newton) thrusters and eight 40-N (Newton) thrusters used for attitude control. Both utilize hydrazine as propellant. The Centaur Forward Adapter (CFA) provides structural mountings for vehicle electronics within the spacecraft.

SOLID ROCKET BOOSTERS (SRB’s): Have a diameter of 158 cm (62.2 in) and a length of 20 m (65.6 ft.). The total number of SRB’s utilized is dependent on the individual mission and vary from none at all to 5. They are jettisoned after approximately a minute and a half of flight.

COMMON CORE BOOSTER (CCB) (First-Stage): The American Atlas-V Common Booster Core is 106.5 ft. (32.46 m) in length by 12.5 ft. (3.8 m) in diameter and is powered by a single two-chamber Russian RD-180 engine that utilizes Rocket Propellant-1 (RP-1 or highly purified kerosene) as propellant and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) as the oxidizer. It provides 860,300lb. of thrust at sea level and can burn for 253 seconds. The RD-180 engine is modeled after the 4-chanber RD-170 engines used by the Zenit rocket family.

Watch LIVE: (Webcast begins at 17:24 EDT) 1) http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/Multimedia_Webcast.shtml 2) http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ula-spaceflightnow

ULA CLIO MISSION: ULA CLIO Brochure: http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Mission_Booklets/AV/av_clio_mob.pdf ULA CLIO Mission Page: http://www.ulalaunch.com/atlas-v-to-launch-clio.aspx?title=Atlas+V+to+Launch+CLIO&Category=1

Lockheed Martin CLIO: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2014/august/0821-ss-clio.html

UNITED LAUNCH ALLIANCE (ULA): ULA homepage: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/default.shtml Twitter: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ulalaunch YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/UnitedLaunchAlliance

ATLAS-V ROCKET: Atlas V rocket: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/Products_AtlasV.shtml Atlas V Users Guide: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/product_cards/guides/AtlasVUsersGuide2010.pdf?bcsi_scan_df193da5ba4c5bc6=0&bcsi_scan_filename=AtlasVUsersGuide2010.pdf Atlas V Product Card: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/docs/product_cards/AV_product_card.pdf Atlas V 400 Series Cutaway: http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Atlas400_Cutaway.pdf Spaceflight 101 Atlas V-401 page: http://www.spaceflight101.com/atlas-v-401.html

MAJOR MILITARY/GOVERNMENT SPACE RESOURCES: National Reconnaissance Office (NRO): http://www.nro.gov/ Patrick AFB (45th Space Wing) (Cape Canaveral): http://www.patrick.af.mil/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/45thSpaceWing Facebook http://www.facebook.com/45thSpaceWing 5th Space Launch Squadron (5th SLS): Vandenberg AFB (30th Space Wing): http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/30thSpaceWing Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/30thSpaceWing YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/30SWVandenberg 4th Space Launch Squadron (4th SLS): Air Force Space Command: http://www.afspc.af.mil/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/AFSpace Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AirForceSpaceCommand YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC339eVx3dEGpH6tFRZt-oDg Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/airforcespacecommand/ Peterson AFB (21st Space Wing): http://www.peterson.af.mil/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/PeteAFB

AEROJET-ROCKETDYNE: Aerojet-Rocketdyne Homepage: http://www.rocket.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/AerojetRdyne Facebook: http://facebook.com/AerojetRdyne

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