A United Launch Atlas 5 rocket is ready to launch the U.S. Air Power’s sixth and last Superior Extraordinarily Excessive Frequency communications satellite tv for pc from Cape Canaveral. This timeline reveals the foremost mission occasions deliberate over an almost six-hour flight to an optimized geostationary switch orbit.
The 197-foot-tall (60-meter) rocket, propelled by an RD-180 fundamental engine and 5 strong rocket boosters, is ready for liftoff throughout a two-hour launch window Thursday, March 26, that opens at 2:57 p.m. EDT (1857 GMT).
The AEHF 5 mission would be the 83rd flight of an Atlas 5 rocket, and the second Atlas 5 launch of 2020.
Constructed by Lockheed Martin, the AEHF 6 satellite tv for pc joins 5 earlier satellites within the AEHF constellation launched by Atlas 5 rockets in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2018 and 2019. The primary 4 AEHF satellites in orbit allowed the Air Power’s new era of safe, nuclear-hardened voice, video and information relay spacecraft to span the globe, and the addition of two extra AEHF geostationary relay satellite tv for pc will develop the community’s capability and resiliency.
The Atlas 5 launch sequence will final 5 hours, 40 minutes, from liftoff till deployment of the AEHF 6 spacecraft. On this mission, ULA added further hardware and maneuvering gasoline to the Centaur higher stage, enabling the launcher to ship the AEHF 6 satellite tv for pc nearer to its last orbit greater than 22,000 miles (practically 36,000 kilometers) above the equator.
The GSO package was added to the Atlas 5 rocket on the fifth AEHF launch final August, after the primary 4 AEHF missions didn’t make use of the extra functionality.
The additional efficiency offered by the GSO package will permit the Centaur higher stage to coast a further two hours earlier than its third firing. Spacecraft separation is scheduled for T+plus 5 hours, 40 minutes.
Due to the mission profile change, the AEHF 6 satellite tv for pc will separate in an orbit with a perigee, or low level, a number of thousand miles greater than can be attainable with out the GSO package. Meaning AEHF 6 — like AEHF 5 final 12 months — might want to devour much less of its personal finite propellant provide to circularize its orbit, resulting in an extended working lifetime for the mission.
In keeping with an Atlas 5 consumer’s information revealed by ULA, the GSO package consists of further battery energy, a full load of hydrazine to manage the higher stage’s orientation in area, and extra shielding over delicate parts, together with the Centaur’ hydrogen and oxygen tanks.
An outline of the Atlas 5/AEHF 6 launch sequence and a floor monitor map illustrating the rocket’s path after liftoff are are posted beneath.