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United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches First USAF Atlas 5

Atlas 5 deploys six satellites in support of space test program
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Mar 11, 2007
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket successfully launched six satellites at 10:10 p.m., EST, for the U.S. Air Force, marking the first use of the Atlas for an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program mission. Known as Space Test Program-1, the mission deployed the six satellites into two different low-Earth orbits.

"This was our ninth successful Atlas 5 launch and first ULA Atlas launch, but more importantly, it was the first EELV Atlas launch for the Air Force," said Michael Gass, ULA President and Chief Executive Officer. "This is a proud moment in our company's history and a significant step forward in providing our nation assured access to space using the most cost-effective means possible."

The mission used the new EELV Secondary Payload Adapter -- or ESPA -- which is designed to integrate multiple smaller satellites on the two EELV-class rockets. The six satellites on this mission were delivered into two distinctly different orbits.

"STP-1 required an extraordinary level of coordination and innovation to achieve the mission requirements," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president of Atlas programs. "One of those innovations was the mission design to achieve the two mission orbits, which was enabled by the development of a very flexible new guidance design. The fact that the Atlas system performed so well tonight in delivering the six satellites to their prescribed orbits is a tribute to the teamwork between our Air Force customer, the Space Development and Test Wing, and men and women of the ULA team, including our suppliers from around the world."

The multiple-payload mission included Orbital Express with its two-satellite configuration and the four ESPA-class satellites. Orbital Express was provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and is designed to validate the technical feasibility of robotic, autonomous on-orbit refueling and reconfiguration of satellites for future national security and commercial space programs.

The other four satellites:

-- MidSTAR-1-1, built by the U.S. Naval Academy.

-- STPSat-1, built by Aero Astro for the Space Test Program.

-- Cibola Flight Experience, built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited

(SSTL) for Los Alamos National Laboratory.

-- FalconSAT-3, built by the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Overall integration of the mission was provided by Boeing.

The mission was launched aboard an Atlas 5 401 configuration, which uses a single common core booster powered by the RD-180 engine. This Atlas V flight marked the 201st RD-180 firing. Including test firings, the Atlas RD-180 engine has operated for more than 37,000 seconds, or the equivalent of 151 launches. The Atlas 5 system has eight previous successful launches, including two missions for NASA and six for commercial customers.

Formed in 2006, ULA combines the successful Delta and Atlas expendable launch vehicle programs to offer cost-effective and reliable launch services to U.S. government customers. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, RD AMROSS Power Atlas 5 Space Test Program Mission
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., March 9 /PRNewswire Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR), a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company, and RD AMROSS, LLC, a joint venture formed by Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne and NPO Energomash, powered the Atlas 5 launch yesterday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch supported the Department of Defense Space Test Program-1 mission.

The Atlas 5 cryogenic upper stage is powered by PWR's RL10 engine; the booster stage is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 propulsion system.

"This launch demonstrates the strong capabilities of the Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne and NPO Energomash propulsion systems, and their versatility to meet a wide range of customer requirements," said Graham Webb, general manager, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne Florida and Mississippi operations.

"RD AMROSS is fortunate to have the two world leaders of liquid rocket engines as our joint venture partners, and we are very proud to be a member of the United Launch Alliance Atlas team supporting the U.S. Air Force's Space Test Program," said Jerry Josef, president and CEO, RD AMROSS.

The RD-180 delivers nearly one million pounds of thrust, enabling the Atlas 5ehicle to have significant performance capability to meet or exceed customer needs. The liquid oxygen-kerosene engine has been extensively flight proven on the Lockheed Martin Atlas III and V launch vehicles. To date, the RD-180 has powered 15 missions with 100 percent mission success.

The RL10 has earned a reputation of being the most reliable, safest and highest-performing upper-stage engine in the world. Created in the 1950s and still operational today, the RL10 has helped place numerous military, civil and commercial satellites into orbit and powered historic space probe missions to every planet in our solar system. The Atlas 5 Centaur uses an RL10A-4-2 model.

Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt and Whitney, offers a complete line of propulsion products for launch vehicles to missile defense to advanced hypersonic propulsion. These have been used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, and high altitude defense systems.

RD AMROSS, LLC, is a U.S. joint venture company of Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne and NPO Energomash of Khimky, Russia. NPO Energomash manufactures the RD-180 for RD AMROSS, and is a world leader in designing, manufacturing, testing, and providing services for liquid propulsion rocket engines.

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