by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral AFS FL (SPX) Jul 28, 2016
The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing supported United Launch Alliance's successful launch of the NROL-61 spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 here July 28, 2016, at 8:37 a.m. ET. The ULA Atlas V rocket is carrying a national security payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.
Before any spacecraft can launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th Space Wing provide the mission assurance to ensure a safe and successful lift-off for range customers.
According to Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander and mission Launch Decision Authority, this launch is the culmination of many long hours and hard work by the entire mission team.
"Our team diligently prepared for this important mission through a series of rigorous rehearsals, readiness reviews and pre-operational checkouts," he said.
"This mission, once again, clearly demonstrates the successful collaboration we have with our mission partners at NRO, Space and Systems Missile Center and ULA as we continue to shape the future of America's space operations.
"This successful launch helps to ensure that vital NRO resources will continue to bolster our national defense while showcasing why the 45th Space Wing is the 'World's Premiere Gateway to Space.'"
Aerojet Rocketdyne Supports Launch of U.S. National Security Payload
The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion included two AJ-60A Solid Rocket Boosters, the RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, six helium pressurization tanks and a dozen Centaur upper-stage reaction control thrusters (RCS).
"Our nation's troops and allied forces depend on these national-security satellites to help keep them safe," said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake.
"We understand that lives are at stake and that failure is not an option. We are honored to be part of the team that's called upon for 100 percent mission success. Congratulations to everyone involved in this critical mission."
Aerojet Rocketdyne's contribution to the launch began when two AJ-60A Solid Rocket boosters ignited to provide additional thrust during launch. Each 67-foot long motor case contains more than 90,000 pounds of propellant, providing an average of 250,000 lbf of thrust each.
After the upper stage separated from the launch vehicle, a single Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 upper-stage engine ignited to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur RCS thrusters and pressurization tanks.
The RL10C-1 engine delivers 22,890 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V Centaur upper stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants during its operation.
The 12 MR-106 series 6-9 lbf Centaur upper-stage hydrazine thrusters provide roll, pitch and yaw control, as well as settling burns. ARDE, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provided the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle.
US Air Force Space Command
Military Space News at SpaceWar.com
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