Next Launch Set For Wednesday
United Launch Alliance was awarded
launch services contracts last week for two future NASA space
exploration missions, Landsat and Juno, scheduled to launch in 2011
aboard Atlas V rockets. Landsat will launch from Space Launch
Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, and Juno from SLC-41 at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.
Under the terms of the contract, ULA is responsible for
conducting vehicle integration and payload processing along with
"United Launch Alliance has a long history of close partnership
with NASA to provide reliable launch services for many important
scientific missions," said Jim Sponnick, vice president, Atlas
Program. "The ULA Atlas team is excited to be launching two new
missions that will enhance our understanding of the Earth and,
through study of Jupiter, our Solar System."
The Atlas V uses a Common Core Booster powered by the RD-180
engine, which can be throttled up or down as the flight requires.
The booster has provisions for the addition of up to five strap-on
solid rocket boosters (SRBs). The Centaur upper stage, powered by
either single or dual RL10 engines, is used with all
configurations. The vehicle can also be fitted with a smaller,
four-meter diameter payload fairing, or a larger five-meter fairing
in a range of heights.
The Landsat Data Continuity Mission, scheduled to fly aboard an
Atlas V 401 configuration vehicle (four-meter fairing; no strap-on
SRBs), is the future of Landsat satellites. It will continue
scientists' ability to obtain valuable data and imagery to be used
in agriculture, education, business, science and government. The
Landsat program provides repetitive acquisition of high resolution
multispectral data of the Earth's surface on a global basis.
NASA's Juno mission, scheduled to fly aboard an Atlas V 551
configuration vehicle, will explore Jupiter with the goal of
understanding the planet's origin and evolution. As the prototype
of giant planets, Jupiter could provide the knowledge needed to
understand the origin of our solar system and the planetary systems
being discovered around other stars. The 551, the most powerful of
the Atlas configurations with the five-meter payload fairing and
five strap-on solid rocket boosters, was the configuration that
launched NASA's Pluto New Horizons mission in 2006.
ULA's next launch, currently scheduled for October 10, will
launch aboard an Atlas V 421 as it carries the Wideband Global
SATCOM (WGS) satellite for the US Air Force from SLC-41 at CCAFS.
The launch window is 8:22-9:33 pm. EDT.
ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support
functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing,
assembly, and integration operations are located at Decatur, AL;
Denver, CO; Harlingen, TX; and San Diego, CA. Launch operations are
located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, and Vandenberg Air
Force Base, CA.