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Atlas V Launches Launches NRO Spysat
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral AFS FL (SPX) Jun 21, 2012

File image.

The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 carrying a classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite.

This was a historic launch of the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, which has launches from both CCAFS and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

"Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles have allowed us to successfully launch 50 nationally critical missions over the last 10 years. We are proud of this launch success record, an amazing record in the history of space flight," said Gen. William Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command.

The 45th Space Wing commander was also pleased with the performance of the team for this historic launch.

"The 45th Space Wing is glad it was able to work with the NRO, ULA and other mission partners to make this launch a success," said Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, who also served as the Launch Decision Authority for the launch. "It's our team's honor to be able to support missions such as these."

Rocketdyne Powers Atlas V Upper Stage
Canoga Park, CA (SPX) Jun 21 - In another awesome display of consistent and reliable rocket launch propulsion, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne and RD AMROSS successfully propelled a critical U.S. government satellite into orbit. The spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The Atlas V is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 booster engine, and the upper-stage is powered by the Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne RL10 engine. Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.

"There's a great sense of pride knowing the RL10 engine plays a vital role in providing capabilities in support of national defense," said Christine Cooley, RL10 program manager, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne.

"We're tremendously proud of the RL10 engine, which has set the bar in upper stage propulsion with its demonstrated performance and reliability. In this business, there are no second chances."

"The RD-180 has once again demonstrated its magnificent strength and reliable performance in boosting this critical payload for the U.S. government, and we look forward to continuing to support the needs of our customer on future missions," said Bill Parsons, president and CEO of RD AMROSS

The Atlas V Centaur upper-stage is powered by a single RL10A4-2 engine that delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust. The Atlas V Common Core booster is powered by the RD-180 engine and delivers nearly 1 million pounds of thrust.

The RD-180 is fueled by kerosene/liquid oxygen mixture, provides an environmentally-clean operation, and uses an extremely efficient, high-pressure staged combustion cycle.


Related Links
Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne
USAF 45th Space Wing
Military Space News at

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