Headlines > News > Atlas 5 Rocket Successfully Launches NROL-39

Atlas 5 Rocket Successfully Launches NROL-39

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Dec 6, 2013 12:29 pm via: ULA
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Vandenberg Air Force Base. Calif. – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3 on Dec. 5 at 11:14 p.m. PST. Designated NROL-39, the mission is in support of national defense.

„Today’s successful launch of the NROL-39 mission is a testament to the tremendous government-industry partnership. We greatly appreciate the teamwork with the NRO Office of Space Launch and our many mission partners,“ said Jim Sponnik, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. „We are honored to be entrusted to launch these one-of-a-kind national assets to orbit and protext our national security and to support the many brave men and women serving around the world.“

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a National Reconnaissance Office payload launches here Dec. 6, 2013. The rocket launched at 11:14:30 PST from Space Launch Complex-3 by Team Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a National Reconnaissance Office payload launches here Dec. 6, 2013. The rocket launched at 11:14:30 PST from Space Launch Complex-3 by Team Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson)

The mission was launches aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expandable Launch Vehicle 501 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter diameter payload fairing. 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 Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10A-4 engine.

In addition to the NROL-39 payload, the Government Experimental Multi-Satellite (GEMSat), consisting of 12 CubeSats, took advantage of the Atlas V launch vehicle ride share capabilities and were deployed following completion of the primary mission. The NRO and ULA partnered to develop and Aft Bulkhead Carrier (ABC) on the Centaur upper stage, which is a platform for accomodating auxiliary payloads aboard Atlas V missions.

The CubeSats were developed under a sponsorship of the both NRO and NASA. The Aerospace Corporation, the Air Force Institute of Technology and the Army developed the seven NRO-sponsored CubeSats. The five NASA-sponsored CubeSats were developed by the Montana State University, California Polytechnic State University, the University of Michigan, and Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.

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