….at 7:15 PM July 1st 2022 from SLC-41!
After a scrubbed launch attempt yesterday June 30th 2022 due to lightning and many other weather violations ULA United Launch Alliance successfully placed two U.S. Space Force satellites into a geosynchronous orbit with liftoff at 7:15 PM EDT from SLC-41 Cape Canaveral Florida.
This marks the 151st continuous launch for ULA with a 100% success rate and the very last Atlas V in the 541 configuration with a five meter short payload fairing, four side solid rocket boosters from Northrup Grumman and one Centaur second stage engine in the fleet of rockets from this company.
For over an hour at the start of the 6:00 PM launch window two major weather violations kept the range red and delayed the launch till the upper level winds calmed and a detached anvil cloud kept the rocket and mission grounded. The 6 hour mission is a duel manifested national security payload on behalf of the Space Systems Command (SSC).
One satellite is the Wide Field View (WFOV) Testbed infrared sensor system for early missile warning demonstration and a Space Test Program (STP) spacecraft called the USSF-12 Ring. Both satellites will be in a geosynchronous orbit about 22,000 miles or 36,000 km above the equator.
The Atlas V in a 541 configuration was a work horse in the ULA fleet and delivers 2.3 million pounds of thrust with a company nickname called the Dominator. The rocket designation for this launch is AV-094 stands 196 feet tall (59.7 meters) and weighs 1,182,975 pounds (536,180 kg) at liftoff fully fueled. The Centaur 2nd stage marks the 265th flight for this venerable U.S. upper stage that unlocked access to the moon and every planet in our solar system for robotic explorer spacecraft.
Congratulations to the entire ULA team and the United State Space Force on the future success of this mission.
Article and Photos by Scott Schilke for spacenews.lu and space-news.es