CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Sept. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-3 (AEHF-3) satellite for the United States Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 here at 4:10 a.m. EDT today. This was ULA's 9th launch of an ambitious 12-mission schedule for the year and marks the 40th Atlas V mission and the 75th launch for ULA.
"The United Launch Alliance team is proud to serve alongside our mission partners and privileged that the Air Force has entrusted the ULA team to deliver the critical national security capabilities provided by AEHF-3 to orbit for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines around the world," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs.
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 531 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter diameter RUAG Space payload fairing along with three Aerojet Rocketdyne solid rocket motors attached to the Atlas booster. 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 engine.
"Today's successful launch was the 75th since ULA was formed nearly seven years ago, the 40th Atlas V mission, and the fourth ULA launch in the last two months," said Sponnick. "The ULA team and our many mission partners emphasize a one-launch-at-a-time focus on mission success along with a strong commitment to continuous improvement – these elements together are the keys to launching our customers' missions successfully at this unprecedented tempo in a reliable and cost-effective manner."
The AEHF constellation is a joint-service satellite communications system that will provide survivable, global, secure, protected and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets.
Developed by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads, the EELV Program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
ULA's next launch is the Delta IV GPS IIF-5 mission for the Air Force scheduled for Oct. 17 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch and twitter.com/ulalaunch.
SOURCE United Launch Alliance