Image Credit & Copyright: United Launch Alliance (ULA).
LAUNCH ALERT: Friday, February 5, 2016 at 13:38 UTC (08:38 EST & 05:38 PST) the United Launch Alliance (ULA), utilizing an Atlas V-401 rocket designated (AV-057) will deliver the GPS IIF-12 Global Positioning Satellite into orbit for the U.S. Air Force and users worldwide from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida.
This will be the ULA’s 1st launch of 2016, 104th launch over all, the 61st launch of the Atlas V and the 31st launch of the Atlas V in the 401 configuration.
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 32.46 m (106.5 ft.) in length by 3.8 m (12.5 ft.) 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 860,300 lb. 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.
ULA Webcast: http://www.ulalaunch.com/webcast.aspx
OA-4 MISSION INFO:
ULA GPS IIF-12 Mission Page: http://www.ulalaunch.com/atlas-v-to-launch-gps-iif12.aspx?title=Atlas+V+to+Launch+GPS+IIF-12&Category=1
ULA GPS IIF-12 Mission Booklet: http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Mission_Booklets/AV/av_gpsiif12_mob.pdf
UNITED LAUNCH ALLIANCE (ULA):
ULA homepage: http://www.ulalaunch.com/
Twitter for ULA CEO Tory Bruno: https://twitter.com/torybruno
Atlas V rocket: http://www.ulalaunch.com/Products_AtlasV.aspx
Atlas V Users Guide: http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/AtlasVUsersGuide2010.pdf
Atlas V 400 Series Cutaway: http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Atlas400_Cutaway.pdf
Atlas V 500 Series Cutaway: http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/Atlas500_Cutaway.pdf
Lockheed Martin Atlas V: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/atlas.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/
5th Space Launch Squadron (5th SLS):
Vandenberg AFB (30th Space Wing): http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/
4th Space Launch Squadron (4th SLS):
Air Force Space Command: http://www.afspc.af.mil/
Peterson AFB (21st Space Wing): http://www.peterson.af.mil/
Aerojet-Rocketdyne Homepage: http://www.rocket.com/