A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-2 (AEHF-2) satellite for the United States Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 here at 2:42 p.m. EDT today. This was ULA's 4th launch of an aggressive 11 mission schedule for the year and marks the 30th Atlas V mission and the 60th launch for ULA.
"ULA is proud to serve alongside our mission partners and privileged that the Air Force entrusts the ULA team to deliver critical national security capability to orbit for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines around the world," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Mission Operations. "Through our focus on attaining Perfect Product Delivery, ULA remains dedicated to providing reliable, cost-effective launch services while continuing our unwavering commitment to 100 percent mission success. Today's successful launch was the 60th since ULA was formed just over five years ago and we congratulate the AEHF team on this important step toward delivering these critical protected communications capabilities."
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 531 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter diameter RUAG Space payload fairing along with three Aerojet solid rocket motors attached to the Atlas booster. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine and the Centaur upper stage was powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL10A engine.
The AEHF constellation is a joint-service satellite communications system that will provide survivable, global, secure, protected and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets.
Developed by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads, the EELV Program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
ULA's next launch is the Atlas V NROL-38 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office scheduled June 18 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Source: United Launch Alliance
Date: May 6, 2012