Atlas V rocket launches a pair of surveillance satellites for us space Force
The twin orbiter can facilitate keeping tabs on the traffic in celestial orbit.
A powerful United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket launched 2 “neighborhood watch” satellites for u. s. house Force on Fri (Jan. 21).
The Atlas V raised removed from Florida’s headland house Force Station at a pair of p.m. local time (1900 GMT) Fri, carrying 2 identical fixed house Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites to orbit.
If all goes per arrange, the rocket can deploy the 2 satellites around six hours and forty-five minutes when launched. The GSSAP craft can then build their thanks to their final destination, a near-geosynchronous orbit regarding twenty-two,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) higher than the equator.
The satellites square measure the fifth and sixth GSSAP orbiter to require flight. ULA launched the primary four on 2 completely different flights, one in 2014 and therefore the different in 2016. each of these previous missions utilized Delta IV Medium rockets, that were retired in 2019.
GSSAP satellites facilitate U.S. house Command keep tabs on the traffic in celestial orbit, wherever a satellite’s orbital rate matches the speed of Earth’s rotation. this can be a prized perch for weather, communications and police investigation satellites, as a result of orbiter there “hover” over identical patch of the world unendingly (the same meridian, anyway).
GSSAP satellites “provide neighborhood watch services within the fixed Earth orbit (GEO), rising flight safety for all voyage nations operational in this orbit,” ULA representatives wrote in an exceedingly mission description.
“Enhanced position information of satellites at that distance improves the flexibility to warn a orbiter owner/operator if there’s another object anticipated to approach too closely and build a risky scenario,” they other. “Data from the GSSAP can unambiguously contribute to timely and correct orbital predictions, enhancing our information of the GEO setting and any facultative spacefaring safety together with satellite collision rejection.”
Friday’s flight was the primary ever for Associate in Nursing Atlas V within the 511 configuration — one that options a 5-meter-wide (16.5 feet) payload fairing, a single-engine Centaur higher stage and one solid rocket booster strapped to the rocket’s aspect.
The 511 was the sole Atlas V variant that had nevertheless to fly, ULA representatives wrote within the mission description. however an in depth relative of that version — the 411, that sports a 4-m-wide (13.2 feet) payload fairing — has flown [*fr1] a dozen times, they added.