CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Jan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the third Mobile User Objective System satellite for the United States Navy launched from Space Launch Complex-41 at 8:04 p.m. EST today. The MUOS-3 spacecraft will ensure continued mission capability of the existing Ultra High Frequency Satellite Communications system that will provide improved and assured mobile communications to the warfighter.
"The ULA team is honored to deliver this critical mission into orbit for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force with the support of our many mission partners," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. "The MUOS-3 spacecraft is the heaviest payload to launch atop an Atlas V launch vehicle. The Atlas V generated more than two and a half million pounds of thrust at liftoff to meet the demands of lifting this nearly 7.5-ton satellite. Today's launch was the 200th Atlas-Centaur launch – a very sincere congratulations to the many women and men responsible for the incredible success of the Centaur upper stage over the last 5 decades!"
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 551 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter diameter payload fairing along with five 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 the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine. This is ULA's 1st launch in 2015, the 52nd Atlas V mission and the fifth Atlas V 551 launch.
MUOS is a next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system designed to significantly improve ground communications to U.S. forces on the move and around the globe.
ULA's next launch is the Delta II Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission for NASA scheduled for Jan. 29, 2015, from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation's most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 90 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.
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, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch.
SOURCE United Launch Alliance