Countdown to the release of Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral begins – Now Flight into Space

A live broadcast of the countdown and launch of the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket from Field 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Forces Station in Florida. The mission, known as the USSF 12, will launch the US Space Forces Wide Vision Field Test Satellite and the USSF 12 Ring spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit. Text updates will automatically appear below. Follow us Twitter.

SFN Live

The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket is ready to launch two U.S. Space Forces experimental satellites into geosynchronous orbit during a six-hour mission launched from Cape Canaveral on Thursday. The two-hour start-up window opens at 18:00 EDT (2200 GMT).

According to the official release forecast given by the 45th Air Squadron of the Space Forces, there is a 40% chance of favorable weather conditions when the window opens on Thursday. The prognosis then improves in the window, when there is a 60% chance of favorable conditions for a start.

The mission, code-named USSF 12, will be the fourth Atlas 5 flight this year and the 94th launch of the Atlas 5 rocket in total. This is one of 23 Atlas 5s left in ULA’s inventory until the rocket retires. ULA, a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, is developing a next-generation Vulcan Centaur rocket to replace the Atlas and Delta rocket families.

One of the missions on the mission is the Space Forces Wide Vision, or WFOV, a testbed satellite that demonstrates a new infrared sensor capable of detecting and tracking rocket launches, alerting early allies to a potential attack on the United States.

The WFOV spacecraft will be launched into the upper part of the cargo compartment of the Atlas 5 rocket. A second-class payload, the USSF 12 Ring, was placed under the WFOV spacecraft for launch. It hosts numerous payloads, experiments, and prototypes, but details of their missions are classified.

A Space Forces spokesman told Spaceflight Now that all USSF 12 missions, including payloads and launch services, cost about $ 1.1 billion.

ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket at launch site before USSF 12 mission. Credit: United Launch Alliance

The countdown to Thursday’s broadcast began at 10:40 EDT (1440 GMT). ULA teams planned to launch the Atlas 5 flight computer, complete the missile’s guidance system test, and then configure the vehicle to begin cryogenic tanking around 16:00 (2000 GMT) EDT time.

The two-stage Atlas 5 rocket will be loaded with about 66,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The Centaur’s top-stage Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 engine burns a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen propulsion, and the Atlas first-stage ULA ground crews consume liquid oxygen with kerosene fuel at room temperature at 25,000 gallons loaded on a rocket on Wednesday, immediately after rolling the Atlas 5. the nearby Vertical Integration Mechanism release area.

To prepare for the flight of the Atlas 5 rocket, two internal storage is planned, one at T-minus 2 hours and the other at T-minus 4 minutes, before the last four-minute terminal countdown sequence.

The rocket’s fuel tanks will be under pressure and the RD-180 engine will ignite in T-minus 1 second. After boosting the main engine, the Atlas 5 will send four Northrop Grumman solid-state rocket boosters to the launch site with a force of 2.3 million pounds to pull it off the 41st.

The version of the Atlas 5 released on the USSF 12 mission is known as the “541” configuration, the first number indicates the size of the payload, the second number indicates the number of solid missile boosters, and the third number indicates the number. Centaur engines on stage.

The 196-foot-tall (59.7-meter) Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-094 for this mission, will move east of Cape Canaveral to target the mission’s equatorial orbit 22,000 miles (approximately 36,000 kilometers) above Earth.

The Atlas 5 will surpass the speed of 58 seconds, followed by the T + plus 1 minute 48 seconds. The 5.4-meter-wide (17.7-foot) composite payload cover will fuel the T + plus in 3 minutes and 25 seconds, and the Russian-made RD-180 main-stage engine will burn in the T + plus in 4 minutes and 24 seconds.

This graphic shows the components of the Atlas 5 rocket for the USSF 12 mission. Credit: United Launch Alliance

The USSF 12 mission marks the 100th flight of the RD-180 engine since it was first launched on an Atlas 3 rocket in May 2000.

After the first phase of the atlas separates, ULA’s Centaur Upper Stage will take flight with three ignitions of a single RL10 engine, first placing the payloads of the two Space Forces in park orbit, and then leading the mission to higher orbits and an embracing trajectory. equator.

The WFOV Testbed spacecraft, built by Millennium Space Systems, will leave the top of Centaur in 5 hours and 49 minutes. After about 10 minutes, the adapter structure will be released and will detect the USSF 12 Ring load set by Northrop Grumman to disconnect the T + plus in 6 hours and 5 minutes.

ROCKET: Atlas 5 (AV-094)


DOWNLOADING: WFOV test bed and USSF 12 rings

STARTING THE PAGE: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Space Forces Station, Florida

START DATE: June 30, 2022

STARTING WINDOW: 6: 00-8: 00 pm EDT (2200-0000 GMT)

WEATHER FORECAST: 60% probability of acceptable weather



TARGET ORBIT: Approximately 22,440 miles, a slope of 0.0 degrees


  • T-00: 00: 01.0: RD-180 ignition
  • T + 00: 00: 01.0: Liftoff
  • T + 00: 00: 06.9: Start the field / bending maneuver
  • T + 00: 00: 57.8: Mach 1
  • T + 00: 01: 07.4: Maximum aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q)
  • T + 00: 01: 48.4: Solid missile booster jet
  • T + 00: 03: 25.6: Useful cargo fair
  • T + 00: 04: 24.3: Atlas amplifier motor cut-off (BECO)
  • T + 00: 04: 30.3: Separation of Atlas / Centaur stage
  • T + 00: 04: 40.2: Centaur launches first main engine (MES-1)
  • T + 00: 10: 58.2: Centaur first main engine shutdown (MECO-1)
  • T + 00: 23: 13.6: Start of the second main engine of Centaur (MES-2)
  • T + 00: 28: 41.9: Centaur second main engine shutdown (MECO-2)
  • T + 05: 43: 54.1: Centaur third main engine start (MES-3)
  • T + 05: 46: 20.0: Centaur third main engine cut-off (MECO-3)
  • T + 05: 49: 36.0: WFOV Test field spacecraft separation
  • T + 05: 59: 03.9: Disconnecting the booster adapter
  • T + 06: 05: 21.0: USSF 12 Separation of the ring spacecraft

MISSION Statistics:

  • 676th edition of the Atlas program since 1957
  • 377th Atlas Release from Cape Canaveral
  • The 265th mission of the centaur’s upper echelon
  • Centaur’s 242nd use of the Atlas rocket
  • The 512 series RL10 engine will be launched
  • The 40th RL10C-1 engine was started
  • 100th flight of RD-180 main engine
  • The 94th edition of Atlas 5 since 2002
  • The 36th U.S. Air Force / Space Forces uses the Atlas 5
  • 14-17 GEM-63 solid missile amplifiers flew
  • 78th edition of Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral
  • Presentation of the 4th Atlas 5 in 2022
  • 136th Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Flight
  • Overall, the 151st flight of the United Launch Alliance
  • 86th Atlas 5 under United Launch Alliance
  • The 109th flight of the United Launch Alliance from Cape Canaveral
  • 35th 500 series flight of Atlas 5
  • The 9th Atlas will fly in a configuration of 5,541
  • Complex 41 to 105th edition
  • The 78th Atlas 5 will use Complex 41
  • A total of 28th orbital release from Cape Canaveral in 2022

About the author


Leave a Comment