ULA Ready to Launch USAF Technology Testing Satellites On Most Powerful Atlas V on Apr 14: Watch Live

A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Air Force Space Command AFSPC-11 mission is poised for liftoff on April 14, 2018 after being rolled from the
Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral’s Space
Launch Complex-41 on April 13. 
Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

Ken Kremer     SpaceUpClose.com     13 April 2018

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL

Rocket maker United Launch Alliance
(ULA) is set to launch a pair of technology testing and demonstration satellites
for the U.S. Air Force on Saturday evening, April 14, from the Florida Space
Coast using the most powerful version of the firms Atlas V rocket to deliver
the mission
codenamed AFSPC-11 to a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

And the weather outlook
for Saturday’s near
sunset
dinnertime blastoff looks quite favorable!

The 20-story tall Atlas V rocket and secretive AFSPC-11
payload encapsulated inside the massive nose cone were rolled out to pad 40 this
morning Friday, April 13 about 1800 feet (500 m) from the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) standing erect atop the mobile launch platform.

Liftoff of the Air Force Space Command AFSPC-11
mission on the ULA Atlas V is slated for 7:13 p.m. EDT (2313
GMT)
on Saturday, April 14
from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Plus AFSPC-11 is the first of 2 exciting and nearly back to
back launches this weekend. NASA’s TESS exoplanet hunter blasts off on a SpaceX
Falcon 9 on Monday evening, April 16.


A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Air Force Space Command AFSPC-11 mission is poised for liftoff on April 14, 2018 after being rolled from the
Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral’s Space
Launch Complex-41 on April 13. 
Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

“Everything is progressing toward the ULA Atlas
V launch carrying the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-11 mission,” said ULA in
an update this evening.

“The ULA Launch Readiness
Review was completed earlier today, and we’re on track to launch the AFSPC-11
mission for the
@usairforce on April 14.”

The launch window last 2 hours until 9:12 p.m. EDT (0111 GMT April 15, Sunday).

In case of any delay for weather or technical
reasons a backup launch opportunity exists on Sunday, April 15 at approximately
the same time.

You can watch the launch live via a ULA webcast.

The ULA webcast starts at 6:53 p.m. EDT, or about 20
minutes prior to the planned liftoff.

The ULA Webcast is available at:  













ULA is utilizing the most powerful version of the Atlas V –
dubbed 551- for the AFSPC-11 mission.




The first stage is powered by Russian-made RD-180 engines
are augmented with 5 Aerojet-Rocketdyne solid rocket motors generating 2.6 million
pounds of liftoff thrust.




The second stage is powered by a single RL10C-1 engine
producing 22,900 lb of thrust. The payload is encapsulated inside the short
version of the payload fairing that is 5 m (17 ft) in diameter.

Overall the two stage rocket measures 197
feet tall (60 m). 





Up close view of the nose cone housing the pair of USAF
satellites comprising the AFSPC-11 mission for the USAF slated for liftoff on a
ULA Atlas V from pad 40 on
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on April 14, 2018.  Credit:
Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com




The two publicly announced payloads on board are named CBAS
and Eagle and stacked on top of one another inside the 5 meter (17 ft) diameter
payload fairing.



“Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-11, is a multi-manifested
mission,” according to a ULA fact sheet.



“The forward spacecraft is referred to as CBAS (Continuous
Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM) and the aft spacecraft is EAGLE (ESPA Augmented
GEO Laboratory Experiment).”



“Managed by the Military
Satellite Communications Directorate of the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile
Systems Center, the CBAS Satellite is a military satellite communications
spacecraft destined for geosynchronous orbit to provide communications relay
capabilities to support our senior leaders and combatant commanders,” the Air
Force said in a statement. 






“The mission of CBAS is to
augment existing military satellite communications capabilities and broadcast
military data continuously through space-based, satellite communications relay
links.”



“The AFSPC-11 mission team is led by the Air
Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Systems Enterprise
Directorate, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California.”



A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Air Force Space Command AFSPC-11 mission is poised for liftoff on April 14,
2018 after being rolled from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch
pad at Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-41 on April 13. 
Credit:
Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com



The weather prognosis is currently very favorable for
launch day April 14, 2018



The latest L Minus 1 day weather
forecast shows an 80 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for Saturdays
near sunset blastoff at launch time, said
U.S. Air Force Air Force Meteorologists with the 45th Space
Wing Weather Squadron on Patrick Air Force Base. 






The primary concerns are for
Cumulous Clouds.






In case of a delay for any reason
technical or weather the backup launch opportunity is Sunday, April 15






However the weather forecast is rather
horrible with an 80 percent unfavorable chance. The primary concerns are for
Lightning, Cumulous Clouds and Ground Winds.



Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, National
Security, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more
space and mission
reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,
Florida.



Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer –
ken
at kenkremer.com











Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.