Fact sheet: Atlas 5 rocket to launch the NROL-42 mission from Vandenberg – Spaceflight Now

Fact sheet: Atlas 5 rocket to launch the NROL-42 mission from Vandenberg
September 16, 2017 Justin Ray
*** AV-072/NROL-42 launch fact sheet ***


NRO satellite in Molniya orbit
Collects signals intelligence

Launch Date:
Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017

Launch Time: 10:30 p.m. local
1:30 a.m. EDT on Sept. 24
0530 GMT on Sept. 24

Launch Period: Four hours
7:25-11:35 p.m. local
0225-0635 GMT on Sept. 24

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Space Launch Complex 3-East

Customer: National Reconnaissance Office
Launch Enterprise Directorate, Air Force’s
Space and Missile Systems Center

Launch Services
Provider: United Launch Alliance, Centennial, Colorado

Launch Vehicle: Atlas 5 designated AV-072
541 configuration
Weight at liftoff: 1.2 million pounds
Thrust at liftoff: 2.4 million pounds
Height: 197 feet (60 m)

Common Core Booster with RD-180 engine
73,800 gallons RP-1 kerosene and liquid oxygen
Thrust: 860,300 pounds

Four side-mounted solid-fuel rocket boosters
World’s largest monolithic SRB
Thrust: 380,000 pounds each

Centaur upper stage with RL10C-1 engine
16,450 gallons liquid hydrogen and oxygen
Thrust: 23,300 pounds

5-meter Short Fairing
18-foot-dia., 68-foot-tall composite shroud

Construction: Atlas stage and Centaur upper stage built by
United Launch Alliance in Decatur, Alabama
Fairing manufactured by RUAG Space in Zurich
RD-180 from NPO Energomash, Khimki, Russia
SRBs by Aerojet Rocketdyne, Sacramento, Calif.
RL10C-1 from Aerojet Rocketdyne, West Palm
Beach, Florida

Payload Speculation: NROL-42 is believed to be the second spacecraft
in the newest generation of Molniya-orbit
signals intelligence satellites
unofficially called Trumpet Follow-On.
The highly-inclined orbit enables the craft
to dwell over northern latitudes to collect

The fourth Space Based Infrared System-HEO
missile-warning senor package is hosted
aboard the NROL-42 satellite.

The target orbit is roughly 1,000 by 24,000
miles at an inclination of 63 degrees.

About the NRO: Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, the
National Reconnaissance Office develops
and operates overhead reconnaissance
systems and conducts intelligence-related
activities for U.S. national Security.

NRO Uses: The NRO is the nation’s eyes and ears in
space, supporting policy makers, the Armed
Services, the Intelligence Community,
Departments of State, Justice and
Treasury, and civil agencies. All of them
depend on the unique capabilities NRO
systems provide.

NRO Capabilities: – Monitoring the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction

– Tracking international terrorists, drug
traffickers, and criminal organizations

– Developing highly accurate military
targeting data and bomb damage assessments

– Supporting international peacekeeping and
humanitarian relief operations

– Assessing the impact of natural disasters,
such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and

NRO Constellations: Exquisite-class electro-optical and
radar-imaging observatories,
geosynchronous and Molniya-orbit
eavesdropping platforms, ocean
surveillance network and data-relay
support spacecraft

* Launch statistics *

– The 655th launch for Atlas program since 1957
– The 298th Atlas launch from Vandenberg AFB since 1959
– The 244th mission of a Centaur upper stage
– The 221st use of Centaur by an Atlas rocket
– The 482nd production RL10 engine to be launched
– The 21st RL10C-1 engine launched
– The 79th flight of an RD-180 main engine
– The 90-91-92-93rd AJ-60 solid rocket booster flown
– The 73rd launch of an Atlas 5 since 2002
– The 15th National Reconnaissance Office use of Atlas 5
– The 5th Atlas 5 launch of 2017
– The 108th Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle flight
– The 25th EELV flight for National Reconnaissance Office
– The 121st United Launch Alliance flight overall
– The 65th Atlas 5 under United Launch Alliance
– The 34th United Launch Alliance flight from Vandenberg
– The 25th NRO launch by United Launch Alliance
– The 23rd 500-series flight of the Atlas 5
– The 5th Atlas 5 to fly in the 541 configuration
– The 47th Atlas to use Space Launch Complex 3
– The 14th Atlas 5 launch from Vandenberg AFB since 2008
– The 48th NRO launch since acknowledging flights in 1996
– The 25th acknowledged NRO launch from Vandenberg
– The 3rd NRO launch this year

Twitter Feeds:
Spaceflight Now
ULA CEO Tory Bruno
National Reconnaissance Office
United Launch Alliance
Aerojet Rocketdyne
30th Space Wing


The optimal spot for the general public to view the launch is along West Ocean Avenue CA-246, immediately prior to the South Gate entrance to Vandenberg Air Force Base. The top of the rocket and launch pad will be visible only 2.7 miles away.

Reblogged from source @ https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/09/16/fact-sheet-atlas-5-rocket-to-launch-the-nrol-42-mission-from-vandenberg/

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