What:           A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is in final preparations to launch the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-2 weather satellite for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA and the Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) for NASA.

Where:         Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif.

When:          Launch is planned for Nov. 1, 2022 at 2:25 a.m. PDT.

Mission details:

·       The Atlas V 401 rocket will deliver the JPSS-2 spacecraft to a sun-synchronous low-Earth orbit. Two subsequent burns by the Centaur upper stage will lower the altitude and put the stage on a re-entry trajectory for the LOFTID experiment.

·       ULA and our heritage vehicles have launched the nation’s weather observatories since the 1960s. The JPSS-2 mission continues that legacy and will provide advancements to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts.

·       Atlas V has been a true workhorse for NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP), launching 22 scientific missions across the solar system since 2005 with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. JPSS-2 will be LSP’s 23rd mission aboard an Atlas V rocket.

·       ULA is partnering with NASA on the LOFTID technology demonstration for future Vulcan reuse applications. The LOFTID partnership with NASA allows ULA to focus on applications including launch integration and applications for future engine recovery operations such as parachute development, flight environments, the recovery vessel, precise navigation for landing and recovery.

·       The JPSS-2 mission is the last Atlas V launching from SLC-3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base. After this launch, modifications will begin at the launch pad to support future Vulcan Centaur launches. 

Launch Vehicle details:

  • The mission will launch on an Atlas V 401 configuration rocket that stands 191 feet (58.2 meters) tall.
  • At liftoff, the thrust will be 860,200 pounds (3.83 mega-Newtons) and the launch vehicle will weigh ~750,000 pounds (340,200 kg).
  • The JPSS-2 spacecraft is encapsulated in a 4-meter Extended Payload Fairing made in Harlingen, Texas.
  • ULA developed a new Launch Vehicle Adapter that attaches LOFTID to the launch vehicle and also serves as canister to enclose LOFTID and support the deployment of the JPSS-2 mission.
  • The Atlas booster for this mission is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine.
  • Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage.

How to stay informed:

About ULA:

Leveraging a legacy of 100 percent mission success launching more than 150 missions to explore, protect and enhance our world, ULA is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider with world-leading reliability, schedule confidence, and mission optimization. We deliver value unmatched by any launch services company in the industry, a tireless drive to improve, and commitment to the extraordinary. 

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com,