Atlas V to Launch NROL-42
- Rocket: Atlas V 541
- Mission: NROL-42
- Launch Date: Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017
- Launch Time: 10:38 p.m. PDT
- Live Broadcast: Stay tuned for how you can watch live
- Launch Location: Space Launch Complex 3, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Launch Notes: This launch will be ULA’s sixth of 2017 and 121st overall. NROL-42 will be the 25th mission that ULA has launched for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) since the company was founded in 2006. This mission will mark the 73rd Atlas V launch since its inaugural launch on Aug. 21, 2002.
Atlas V Rocket Launch Rescheduled at Vandenberg AFB After Delay Due to Hurricane Irma
After being delayed by Hurricane Irma, an Atlas V rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base has a new launch date.
Liftoff of the United Launch Alliance booster is now planned for Sept. 21 from Space Launch Complex-3 on South Base.
The launch window remains classified for the mission dubbed NROL-42 since the rocket will carrying payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.
The targeted launch time is 10:38 p.m., but the launch window does not extend beyond 11:30 p.m. based upon the notice to mariners warning boaters to remain away from the ocean off South Base.
ULA officials announced Sept. 8 that the mission was delayed a week to allow ULA crews temporarily working at Vandenberg to return home before Hurricane Irma, brewing in the Atlantic Ocean at the time, was set to hit Florida.
Following Atlas, at least two launches are planned from Vandenberg in October.
At 6:06 a.m. Oct. 4, a Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket is set to lift another 10 Iridium Next satellites into orbit amid a push to replace the constellation of craft that allow communications anywhere on the globe.
Additionally, Orbital ATK plans to conduct a Minotaur C launch of 10 commercial Earth-imaging spacecraft at 2:37 p.m. Oct. 17 from Vandenberg.
Planet’s six SkySat and four Dove spacecraft have all been designed and manufactured in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Payload: CLASSIFIED NATIONAL SECURITY PAYLOAD NRO satellite in Molniya orbit Collects signals intelligence Launch Date: Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 Target Launch Time: 10:38 p.m. local 1:38 a.m. EDT on Sept. 22 0538 GMT on Sept. 22 Unclassified Launch Period: Four hours 7:25-11:35 p.m. local 0225-0635 GMT on Sept. 22 Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Space Launch Complex 3-East Customer: National Reconnaissance Office Launch Enterprise Directorate, Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Services Provider: United Launch Alliance, Centennial, Colorado Launch Vehicle: Atlas 5 designated AV-072 541 configuration Weight at liftoff: 1.2 million pounds Thrust at liftoff: 2.4 million pounds Height: 197 feet (60 m) Common Core Booster with RD-180 engine 73,800 gallons RP-1 kerosene and liquid oxygen Thrust: 860,300 pounds Four side-mounted solid-fuel rocket boosters World's largest monolithic SRB Thrust: 380,000 pounds each Centaur upper stage with RL10C-1 engine 16,450 gallons liquid hydrogen and oxygen Thrust: 23,300 pounds 5-meter Short Fairing 18-foot-dia., 68-foot-tall composite shroud Construction: Atlas stage and Centaur upper stage built by United Launch Alliance in Decatur, Alabama Fairing manufactured by RUAG Space in Zurich RD-180 from NPO Energomash, Khimki, Russia SRBs by Aerojet Rocketdyne, Sacramento, Calif. RL10C-1 from Aerojet Rocketdyne, West Palm Beach, Florida Payload Speculation: NROL-42 is believed to be the second spacecraft in the newest generation of Molniya-orbit signals intelligence satellites unofficially called Trumpet Follow-On. The highly-inclined orbit enables the craft to dwell over northern latitudes to collect surveillance. The fourth Space Based Infrared System-HEO missile-warning senor package is hosted aboard the NROL-42 satellite. The target orbit is roughly 1,000 by 24,000 miles at an inclination of 63 degrees. About the NRO: Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, the National Reconnaissance Office develops and operates overhead reconnaissance systems and conducts intelligence-related activities for U.S. national Security. NRO Uses: The NRO is the nation's eyes and ears in space, supporting policy makers, the Armed Services, the Intelligence Community, Departments of State, Justice and Treasury, and civil agencies. All of them depend on the unique capabilities NRO systems provide. NRO Capabilities: - Monitoring the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction - Tracking international terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal organizations - Developing highly accurate military targeting data and bomb damage assessments - Supporting international peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations - Assessing the impact of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and fires. NRO Constellations: Exquisite-class electro-optical and radar-imaging observatories, geosynchronous and Molniya-orbit eavesdropping platforms, ocean surveillance network and data-relay support spacecraft
Atlas V Rocket Launch On Track For Clandestine Mission from Vandenberg AFB
National Reconnaissance Office Payload will head to orbit aboard United Launch Alliance booster