A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the eighth Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-8 satellite for the U.S. Air Force at 1:21 p.m. EDT today from Space Launch Complex-41. This is ULA’s 12th launch in 2014, and the 89th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
“ULA is honored to work with this world-class U.S. government and contractor mission team, and we are very proud to have delivered the GPS IIF-8 satellite to orbit today on the 50th Atlas V mission,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “Achieving 50 Atlas missions with 100 percent mission success is a tribute to this team’s sustained focus on one mission at a time and dedication to reliably meeting our customer’s launch needs.”
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by a single Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10A engine.
ULA's next launch is the Delta IV Heavy Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) mission of NASA’s Orion spacecraft for Lockheed Martin scheduled for Dec. 4 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
GPS IIF-8 is the eighth in a series of next generation GPS satellites and will join a worldwide timing and navigation system utilizing 24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. The GPS IIF series provides improved accuracy and enhanced performance for GPS users.
The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 85 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.
Source : http://www.ulalaunch.com