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45th Space Wing launches NRO Satellite on board Atlas V
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral AFB FL (SPX) Apr 11, 2014

File image.

The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 here at 1:45 p.m. April 10 carrying a classified national security payload.

The payload was designed and built by the National Reconnaissance Office. It will be the second Atlas V from the Cape this year and ULA's 81st launch overall. The 45th Space Wing commander was pleased with the performance of the team for this launch.

"I am proud of the persistence and focus of the launch team, the wing, NRO, ULA and other mission partners, to make this launch happen," said Brig. Gen. Nina Armango, 45th Space Wing commander, who also served as the Launch Decision Authority for the launch. "Our entire team worked together flawlessly once again to ensure mission success."

Aerojet Rocketdyne Propulsion Supported Atlas V Launch
Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (GY) company, played a significant role in successfully launching a national security payload into orbit for the U.S. government. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, with an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10A-4-2 upper-stage engine, four AJ60 solid rocket boosters, five helium pressurization tanks and a dozen Centaur upper-stage thrusters used for roll, pitch, yaw and settling burns.

"Today's successful launch demonstrates the reliability of Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion and the trust our customers place in our ability to propel critical payloads to orbit," said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne.

"Aerojet Rocketdyne remains committed to offering the safest, most dependable propulsion on the market."

With the help of four AJ60 solid rocket boosters providing more than 1.5 million total pounds of thrust, the Atlas V rocket lifted off the pad. Once in space, the ULA Centaur upper stage, powered by a single RL10A-4-2 engine, ignited to place the payload into orbit, helped by the Centaur thrusters and other Aerojet Rocketdyne-provided hardware for both the booster and upper stage.

The workhorse RL10A-4-2 engine delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper-stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants during its operation. ARDE, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, provides the pressure vessels on the first and second stages on the launch vehicle.

Twelve Aerojet Rocketdyne monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters in four modules on the Atlas V Centaur upper stage provided roll, pitch and yaw control as well as settling burns for the upper stage.


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