Live streaming of the countdown and launch of the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket from Pad 41 at the Space Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The mission, known as USSF 12, will launch the Wide Field of View Testbed satellite and the USSF 12 Ring spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit. Text updates will automatically appear below. Follow us Twitter.
Broadcast by ULA
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket is poised to lift two experimental U.S. space force satellites into geosynchronous orbit on a six-hour mission that launches from Cape Canaveral on Thursday. The two-hour launch window opens at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT).
The official launch forecast released by the Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron puts the chance of good weather on Thursday at 40%. The forecast improves later in the window when there is a 60% chance of favorable launch conditions.
The mission, codenamed USSF 12, will be the fourth Atlas 5 flight this year and the 94th launch of the Atlas 5 rocket overall. It is one of 23 Atlas 5s remaining in ULA’s inventory before the rocket is retired. ULA, a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, is developing the next-generation Vulcan Centaur rocket to replace the Atlas and Delta missile families.
One of the payloads on this mission is the Wide Field Of View, or WFOV, a Space Force test satellite to demonstrate a new infrared sensor capable of detecting and tracking missile launches, providing early warning of a potential attack on the United States by allied nations.
The WFOV spacecraft will launch into space on top of the cargo bay of an Atlas 5 rocket. A secondary payload called the USSF 12 Ring is positioned below the WFOV spacecraft for launch. It contains several payloads, experiments and prototypes, but details about their missions are classified.
A Space Force spokesperson told Spaceflight Now that the entire USSF 12 mission, including payload and launch services, costs about $1.1 billion.
The countdown to Thursday’s launch began at 10:40 a.m. EDT (2:40 p.m. GMT). ULA teams planned to turn on the Atlas 5 on-board computer, complete a test of the rocket’s guidance system, and then set the vehicle up to begin cryogenic refueling around 4:00 PM EDT (2000 GMT).
Nearly 66,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen will be loaded into the two-stage Atlas 5 rocket. The Centaur upper stage’s Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 engine burns a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, while the Atlas first stage consumes liquid oxygen from 25,000 gallons of room-temperature gaseous fuel that was loaded into rocket on Wednesday, shortly after ULA ground crews launched the Atlas 5 launch pad from the nearby Vertical Integration Facility.
The countdown has two built-in holds, one at T-minus 2 hours and another at T-minus 4 minutes, before the final four-minute countdown sequence at the terminal in preparation for the launch of the Atlas 5 rocket.
The rocket’s fuel tanks will be pressurized, and the RD-180 engine will ignite at T-minus 1 second. After building thrust on the main engine, Atlas 5 will send the team to ignite four Northrop Grumman solid rocket boosters to power the launcher from Pad 41 with 2.3 million pounds of thrust.
The version of Atlas 5 launched as part of USSF Mission 12 is known as the “541” configuration, where the first number represents the size of the payload fairing, the second number represents the solid rocket booster number, and the third number represents the engines on the Centaur stage.
The 196-foot-tall (59.7-meter) Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-094 for this mission, will head east from Cape Canaveral to aim for the mission’s equatorial orbit more than 22,000 miles (almost 36,000 kilometers) above Earth.
The Atlas 5 will exceed the speed of sound in 58 seconds and then dispose of the spent belt amplifiers at T+plus 1 minute 48 seconds. The 5.4-meter (17.7-foot) wide composite payload fairing will be jettisoned at T+plus 3 minutes 25 seconds, and the Russian-made RD-180 main stage engine will run until T+plus 4 minutes 24 seconds.
USSF Mission 12 marks the 100th flight of the RD-180 engine since its first launch in May 2000 on an Atlas 3 rocket.
After the Atlas first stage separates, ULA’s Centaur upper stage will take flight with three firings of a single RL10 engine to first place two Space Force payloads in a parking orbit and then move the mission to higher orbits and an equator-hugging trajectory.
The WFOV Testbed spacecraft, built by Millennium Space Systems, will separate from the Centaur upper stage at T+plus 5 hours 49 minutes. The adapter structure will be released in about 10 minutes, showing the USSF 12 Ring payload, built by Northrop Grumman, for separation at T+plus 6 hours and 5 minutes.
ROCKET: Atlas 5 (AV-094)
MISSION: USSF 12
PAYLOAD: WFOV Test Stand and USSF 12 Ring
LAUNCH SITE: SLC-41, Space Force Station at Cape Canaveral, Florida
LAUNCH DATE: June 30, 2022
LAUNCH WINDOW: 6:00-8:00 PM EDT (2200-0000 GMT)
WEATHER FORECAST: The probability of acceptable weather is 60%.
BOOSTER RECOVERY: None
LAUNCH AZIMUTH: East
TARGET ORBIT: Approximately 22,440 miles, 0.0 degree tilt
- T-00:00:01.0: Ignition of RD-180
- T+00:00:01.0: Takeoff
- T+00:00:06.9: Start of pitch/yaw maneuver
- T+00:00:57.8: Mach 1
- T+00:01:07.4: Maximum Aerodynamic Pressure (Max-Q)
- T+00:01:48.4: Solid rocket booster launch
- T+00:03:25.6: Payload fairing jettisoned
- T+00:04:24.3: Atlas (BECO) booster motor shutdown
- T+00:04:30.3: Atlas/Centaur degree separation
- T+00:04:40.2: Centaur main engine (MES-1) first launch
- T+00:10:58.2: Centaur (MECO-1) main engine shutdown first
- T+00:23:13.6: Centaur second main engine (MES-2) launch
- T+00:28:41.9: Shutdown of Centaur’s second main engine (MECO-2)
- T+05:43:54.1: Centaur third main engine (MES-3) launch
- T+05:46:20.0: Centaur third main engine shutdown (MECO-3)
- T+05:49:36.0: WFOV Testbed spacecraft separation
- T+05:59:03.9: Accelerator adapter separation
- T+06:05:21.0: USSF Spacecraft 12 Ring detachment
- 676th launch under the Atlas program since 1957
- 377th Atlas launch from Cape Canaveral
- 265th Centaur upper stage mission
- 242nd use of Centaur by an Atlas missile
- Production of the 512th serial RL10 engine begins
- The 40th RL10S-1 engine was launched
- 100th flight of the RD-180 main engine
- 94th Atlas 5 launch since 2002
- The 36th US Air Force/Space Force uses the Atlas 5
- The flight of the 14th-17th GEM-63 solid-fuel rocket accelerators was completed
- 78th launch of Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral
- 4th Atlas 5 launch in 2022
- Flight of the 136th advanced expendable launch vehicle
- United Launch Alliance’s 151st flight overall
- 86th Atlas 5 under United Launch Alliance
- United Launch Alliance’s 109th flight from Cape Canaveral
- 35th flight of the Atlas 5 500 series
- 9th Atlas 5 to fly in 541 configuration
- 105th launch from complex 41
- 78th atlas 5 use complex 41
- 28th overall orbital launch from Cape Canaveral in 2022
https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/06/30/atlas-5-ussf-12-live-coverage/ The countdown to the launch of Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral begins – Spaceflight Now