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Successful lift-off for ULA’s sixth US Space Force mission

Stephen Kuper

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the USSF-7 mission for the US Space Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41. This marks the 84th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 139th launch for ULA, the second launch for the US Space Force and the sixth flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6).

Successful lift-off for ULA’s sixth US Space Force mission
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Along with OTV-6, this mission deployed FalconSat-8, a small satellite developed by the US Air Force Academy and sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to conduct experiments on orbit.

Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of government and commercial programs, explained, “The success of this mission resulted from collaboration with our customer while working through challenging, and ever-changing, health and safety conditions.”

The mission also carried two NASA experiments, including a material sample plate to determine the results of radiation and other space effects on various materials, and an experiment which will assess space effects on seeds used to grow food.

“We were honoured to partner with the US Space Force to dedicate this mission to first responders, front-line workers, and those affected by COVID-19. It is truly a unique time in our history and I want to thank the entire team for their continued dedication and focus on mission success,” Wentz added.

Another experiment sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory will examine the ability to transform solar power into radio frequency microwave energy that could be transmitted to the ground.

This mission launched aboard an Atlas V 501 configuration rocket that included a five-metre-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.

ULA’s next launch is NASA’s Mars 2020 mission carrying the Perseverance rover on an Atlas V rocket. The launch is scheduled for 17 July from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

To date ULA has a record of 100 per cent mission success with 139 successful launches.

With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider.

ULA has successfully launched more than 135 missions to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, and support life-saving technology.

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