Image credit & copyright: United Launch Alliance (ULA) of the SBIRS GEO Flight-2 launch vehicle.
LAUNCH ALERT: Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 19:46 EST (00:46 UTC on the 20th) the United Launch Alliance (ULA), utilizing an Atlas V-401 rocket designated (AV-066) will deliver the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO Flight-3 national security satellite from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida. The launch window for this mission extends for 40 minutes.
This will be the ULA’s 116th launch, the 69th launch of the Atlas V, and the 34th launch of the Atlas V in its 431 configuration.
Go Atlas! Go Centaur! Go SBIRS!
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V-400 Series rocket is a two-stage rocket that, depending on which of the three fairing sizes 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 6 different configurations (when including the 500 series) 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).
The Atlas V-400 series payload delivery performance:
Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO): 10,470 lb. (4,750 kg) to 16,970 lb. (7,700 kg).
Low Earth Orbit (LEO): 20,650 lb. (9,370 kg) to 33,360 lb. (15,130 kg).
401 Configuration Summary:
4 = 4 meter, two-shell fairing.
0 = 0 external solid rocket boosters.
1 = 1 Aerojet-Rocketdyne, Centaur second stage engine.
Main Payload Fairing (PLF): The Main Payload Fairing for the Atlas-V-400 series is a two-shell fairing that can come in three configurations. All 4 m (13.8 ft.) in diameter, there’s the short option, known as the Large Payload Fairing (LPF) 39.3 ft. (12 m), the medium option, known as the Extended Payload Fairing (EPF) 42.3 ft. (12.9 m), and the largest option, known as the Extra Extended Payload Fairing (XPF) 45.2 ft. (13.8 m) option based on the payload. The fairings are used to protect the spacecraft & Centaur during its ascent through atmospheric turbulence and into space. Once the rocket has reached a safe altitude the fairings are pyrotechnically jettisoned via a debris-free actuating system.
Centaur Upper Stage: The Centaur Upper stage is 10 ft. (3.1 m) in diameter and 41.6 ft. (12.7 m) in length. It consists of a single Cryogenic RL-10A-4-2 (RL-10) Aerojet Rocketdyne Engine that provides 99.2 kN (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 Booster’s (SRB’s): Have a diameter of 62.2 in. (158 cm) with a length of 65.6 ft. (20 m). The total number of SRB’s utilized is dependent on the individual mission and vary from none at all to 5. Each have a burn time of about 88.3 seconds.
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 manufactured by NPO Energomash, that utilizes Rocket Propellant-1 (RP-1 or highly purified kerosene) as propellant and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) as the oxidizer. It provides 3,827 kN (860,300 lb.) of thrust at sea level and can burn for 311 seconds. The RD-180 engine is modeled after the 4-chanber RD-170 engines used by the Zenit rocket family.
Stream Live: Webcast begins at 19:26 EST (00:26 UTC on the 20th).
ULA Webcast: http://www.ulalaunch.com/webcast.aspx
SBIRS GEO Flight-3 Mission Information:
45th Space Wing L-1 Weather Forecast: http://www.patrick.af.mil/About-Us/Weather
Lockheed Martin Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS): http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/sbirs.html
United Launch Alliance (ULA) Social Media:
ULA homepage: http://www.ulalaunch.com/
Discover ULA: http://www.discoverula.com/
Twitter for ULA CEO Tory Bruno: https://twitter.com/torybruno
Atlas V Rocket:
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
List of all Atlas V launches: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Atlas_launches
Main Site: http://www.rocket.com/
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO):
Main Site: http://www.nro.gov/
Patrick AFB: 45th Space Wing, Cape Canaveral, FL:
Main Site: http://www.patrick.af.mil/
Vandenberg AFB, 30th Space Wing, CA:
Vandenberg AFB : http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/
Air Force Space Command:
Main Site: http://www.afspc.af.mil/
Los Angeles Air Force Base, Space and Missile Systems Center:
Main Site: http://www.losangeles.af.mil/
Peterson AFB (21st Space Wing):
Main Site: http://www.peterson.af.mil/