Images credit & copyright: United Launch Alliance (ULA).
LAUNCH ALERT: Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 17:02 EST (22:02 UTC) a United Launch Alliance (ULA), Atlas V-541 rocket designated (AV-077) will lift off from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida carrying the NASA/NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-S or GOES-17) weather satellite.
This will be the ULA’s 3rd launch of 2018, 126th launch since its founding in 2006 and the 76th launch of the Atlas V since its inaugural flight in 2002. Launch window for this attempt will be open for 2 hours.
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V-500 Series rocket is a two-stage rocket that depending on the size of the fairing used stands between 59.7 m (196 ft.) and 65.5 m (215 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 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-500 series payload delivery performance:
Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO): 8,320 lb. (3,780 kg) to 19,620 lb. (8,900 kg).
Low Earth Orbit (LEO): 17,510 lb. (7,940 kg) to 41,570 lb. (18,850 kg).
541 Configuration Summary:
5 = 5 meter, two-shell fairing.
4 = 4 external solid rocket boosters.
1 = 1 Aerojet-Rocketdyne, Centaur second stage engine.
Main Payload Fairing (PLF): The Main Payload Fairing for the Atlas-V-500 series is a two-shell fairing that can come in three configurations. All 5 m (17.8 ft.) in diameter, there’s a 68 ft. (20.7 m) “short”, a 77 ft. (23.5 m) “medium” and an 87 ft. (26.5 m) “long” option for the fairing 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-10C (RL-10C) 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.
ULA Webcast: http://www.ulalaunch.com/webcast.aspx
ULA YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/UnitedLaunchAlliance
ULA Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ulalaunch
NASA TV: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
NASA TV on Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv
NASA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NASA/
NASA YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/NASA
NASA TV schedule: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/schedule.html
45th Space Wing L-1 Weather Forecast: http://www.patrick.af.mil/About-Us/Weather
Mission Basics: https://www.ulalaunch.com/missions/next-launch
NASA GOES-S: https://blogs.nasa.gov/goes/
NASA GOES Website: https://www.nasa.gov/content/goes
NASA Kennedy GOES-S Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasakennedy/sets/72157689995030414
ULA GOES-S Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ulalaunch/albums/72157692198596181
General 2018 Launch Schedule (Wiki): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_in_spaceflight
United Launch Alliance (ULA):
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/
Patrick AFB: 45th Space Wing, Cape Canaveral, FL:
Main Site: http://www.patrick.af.mil/
Vandenberg AFB, 30th Space Wing, CA:
Vandenberg AFB launch complex locations & viewing locations: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1eJ71ff_mISR9o8ndMX7nwrvQlTw&hl=en_US&ll=34.6567746365756%2C-120.51221950488281&z=12
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), Colorado Springs, CO:
Main Site: http://www.peterson.af.mil/