United Launch Alliance to Launch NROL-101 Mission
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United Launch Alliance to Launch NROL-101 Mission

By Gov CIO Outlook | Wednesday, November 04, 2020

ULA to launch NROL-101 mission that aid in tracking severe weather, unearth the mysteries of the solar system, provide critical abilities for troops in the field, offer cutting-edge commercial services and enable GPS navigation

FREMONT, CA: A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is to launch the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The launch is planned for November 3 from Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The mission will roll out on an Atlas V 531, a rocket that offers unique capacity and the performance needed for several mission types. The 531 configurations released the first three Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites for the US Space Force and will have a pair of C-band satellites in 2022.

ULA is proud to play a key role in support of its mission partners and national security by keeping the country safe one launch at a time. The company thanked its mission partners for their trust and teamwork. The NROL-101 mission is ULA's 29th mission for the National Reconnaissance Office and the 17th NRO mission launched on an Atlas V.

The NROL-101 mission will release flying the new Northrop Grumman Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM) 63 solid rocket boosters that burn propellant and augment the lifting ability of the rocket's first stage. The GEM 63s gauge 63 inches in diameter and 66 feet in length. It will be ignited at the launch pad and burn for 94 seconds, each consuming 97,500 pounds of propellant to generate 371,550 pounds of max thrust to accelerate the 860,200 pounds of thrust produced by the RD-180 engine to power the Atlas V rocket skyward. At liftoff, the coupled thrust will be nearly 1.8 million pounds.

The Atlas V 531 configuration comprises a 17 ft. payload fairing and stands 206 ft. tall. The RD AMROSS RD-180 engine fuels the Atlas booster for this mission. Aerojet Rocketdyne offered the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage. This is the 86th launch of the Atlas V and the 71st Atlas V from Space Launch Complex-41 in Florida. To date, ULA has rolled out 140 times with complete mission success.

With over a century of combined heritage, ULA is the nation's most experienced and reliable service provider. ULA has delivered 140 missions to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of the solar system, offer critical abilities for troops in the field, offer cutting-edge commercial services and allow GPS navigation.

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