CAPE CANAVERAL AFS, Fla., May 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellite for the United States Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 here at 2:10 p.m. EDT today. This marks the 50th successful launch for ULA since the company was formed in December 2006.
"With this launch, ULA continues to demonstrate its commitment to 100 percent mission success," said Michael Gass, ULA President and CEO. "This milestone is a testament to the dedicated employees that for every mission deliver excellence, best value and continuous improvement to our customers."
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V 401 vehicle configuration, which includes a 4-meter diameter payload fairing. The booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine and the Centaur upper stage was powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL-10A engine.
"This is a very important day for our customers and for our nation," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Mission Operations. "The ULA team is extremely proud to have served with this strong government and industry team in successfully launching the SBIRS GEO-1 satellite on its critical mission."
SBIRS is a consolidated system intended to meet United States infrared space surveillance needs for decades to come. The SBIRS program addresses critical warfighter needs in the areas of missile warning, missile defense and battlespace characterization.
ULA's next launch is the Delta II Aquarius mission currently scheduled for June 9, 2011 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., Harlingen, Texas, San Diego, Calif. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
For more information on the ULA joint venture, visit the ULA Web site at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321).
SOURCE United Launch Alliance