ULA Successfully Launches Two Space Force Surveillance Satellites
United Launch Alliance announced that it has successfully launched a critical space surveillance mission for the Space Force. An Atlas V rocket carrying the USSF-8 mission for the Space Systems Command lifted off on schedule and without incident from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, ULA said Friday.
In a statement, Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs, said the USSF-8 mission was successfully delivered to near-geosynchronous orbit after a nearly seven-hour mission. He said this marks a continuation of the company’s efforts “to launch national security assets into highly complex orbits.”
The mission launched two satellites to an orbit approximately 22,000 miles above the equator. The satellites, named GSSAP-5 and GSSAP-6, are part of the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program. These are the fifth and sixth satellites of the GSSAP program built by Northrop Grumman.
Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond called USSF-8 a “really important mission” because the GSSAP satellites are used to monitor objects in the geostationary belt, SpaceNews reported.
The mission launched on an Atlas V 511 configuration rocket that included a five-meter short payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine. Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage and Northrop Grumman provided the Graphite Epoxy Motor 63 solid rocket booster, it was explained.
To date, ULA said that it has launched 148 times using its various models of rockets with 100 percent mission success. This was the 91st launch using the Atlas V rocket. ULA’s next launch is the GOES-T mission, planned for March 1, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, it was revealed.
Tags: Atlas V Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program GSSAP-5 GSSAP-6 space Space Force Space Systems Command United Launch Alliance