ULA Retargets Atlas V STP-3 Mission Launch for Space Force and NASA to Overnight Dec. 7 After Fuel Leak: Watch Live/Photos

ULA Atlas V Launch Retargets STP-3 Mission for Space Force and NASA to Overnight Dec. 7 After Fuel Leak: Watch Live/Photos
UpClose nose cone and decaled logo view on ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force, NASA and NNSA UpClose nose cone and logo view on ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force and NASA targeting launch on Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:04 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FL –   United Launch Alliance (ULA) is retargeting the Atlas V rocket launch of the $1 Billion STP-3 space technology demonstration mission facilitating both U.S national security and NASA high speed communications research for overnight early Tuesday morning, Dec. 7, following two back-to-back scrubs when a leak of RP-1 propellant was discovered in the ground support equipment at pad 41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

RP-1 is a highly-refined rocket-grade kerosene fuel and one of two first stage propellants for the Atlas V rocket.

Liftoff of ULA Atlas V launch carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force is now scheduled for Tues., Dec. 7 at 4:04 a.m. EST (0904 GMT) from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

GO STP-3! ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force and NASA targeting launch on Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:04 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Wide view shows media cameras and huge LOX storage tank at center right. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

The STP-3 launch was postponed twice for a total of 48 hours from the original target of Sunday to Tuesday at the same time of 4:04 – the opening of a 2-hour launch window

ULA engineers and technicians needed additional time to complete assessment and cleanup of the RP-1 leak, repair the Ground System Equipment (GSE) storage facility and check the purity of the RP-1 propellant to ensure it was up to the stringent purity specification required for a successful rocket launch priori to commencing fueling operations for the Atlas V rocket.

 

The initial RP-1 leak was discovered Sun., Dec. 4,

The STP-3 Atlas V launch window stretches from 4:04 a.m. to 6:04 a.m. ET (1104 GMT).

Forecast Details from Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron:

“A ridge of high pressure at the surface will generally dominate central Florida through Wednesday. For primary launch day Tuesday, a frontal boundary stalls over the Florida panhandle, with extensive cloud cover over north Florida and a slight chance for some mid-level clouds to extend further south near the Spaceport. Therefore, the primary concern for launch day is the Thick Cloud Layer Rule. For Wednesday, this front and associated cloud cover lifts further north. With high pressure at the surface, we can expect mostly clear skies, with a very slight chance for a Cumulus Cloud Rule violation Wednesday morning.”

Tank farm view of Atlas V beside Liquid Oxygen (LOX tank). ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force and NASA targeting launch on Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:04 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

We media completed our remote cameras setups, Saturday afternoon, Dec. 4 and reset today Dec. 6.

Enjoy our ULA Atlas V STP-3 mission pre-launch pad and rollout photos from the Space UpClose team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright.

UpClose nose cone and logo view on ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force and NASA targeting launch on Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:04 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: Jean Wright/SpaceUpClose.com

The payload for the launch of the ULA Atlas V is the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC) and includes research, test and operational satellites and payloads for both the Space Force as well as NASA.

The mission will be the longest to date lasting over seven hours from launch to payload separation during the rockets ascent – which required development of a new longer lasting battery – the In-Flight Power System (IFPS) – to keep the batteries on the payloads fully charged.

The STP-3 payload manifest is comprised of two co-manifested satellites.  The primary spacecraft is STP Satellite STPSat-6 and the rideshare spacecraft is the Long Duration Propulsive Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) or LDPE-1.

 

For the U.S. Space Force the two spacecraft “matures technology and reduces future space program risk for the Department of the Air Force and the U.S. Space Force by advancing warfighting capabilities in the areas of nuclear detonation detection, space domain awareness (SDA), weather, and communication.”  See rocket graphic below.

STP-3 hosts two NASA payloads: NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) and the NASA-U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Ultraviolet Spectro-Coronagraph (UVSC) Pathfinder.

NASA’s $320 million Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will showcase the unique capabilities of optical communications.

Most NASA missions use radio frequency communications to send data to and from spacecraft since the beginning of the space age.

“However, as space missions generate and collect more data, the need for enhanced communications capabilities becomes paramount, says NASA.

“Optical communications will provide significant benefits for missions, including bandwidth increases of 10 to 100 times more than radio frequency systems.”

For example a global map of Mars would require about 9 weeks to transmit back to Earth using conventional radio frequency communications – where it would take around 9 days or so or less using laser or optical communications.

LCRD optical communications tests will also be done with the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2022 or early 2023 after communication hardware is shipped up to the ISS sometime in 2022, NASA official told Space UpClose.

Both spacecraft will be delivered to geosynchronous orbit – via a direct injection rather than delivered to LEO for orbit raising.

Watch this description by ULA CEO Tory Bruno of the STP-3 mission and the direct injection into GSO:

You can watch the Atlas V STP-3 launch broadcast live on ULA and NASA webcasts.

ULA updates from the launch control center will begin with live countdown updates on ULA’s webpage Monday, Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m. EST (0130 GMT Tuesday, Dec. 5) just prior to starting the countdown.

Watch live: www.ulalaunch.com

https://www.ulalaunch.com/missions/next-launch/atlas-v-stp-3

The live video webcast of the launch begins Tuesday Dec. 5 at 3:30 a.m. EST (0830 UTC) and will be viewable on the ULA webpage live on www.ulalaunch.com and on NASA TV.

The ULA Atlas V is launching in its most powerful configuration – the 551 version with the maximum liftoff thrust amounting to approx. 2.6 million pounds of sea-level liftoff thrust.

The two stage Atlas V 551 configuration rocket includes a 5.4 meter payload fairing and stands 196 ft. (59.7 m) tall.

GO STP-3! ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force and NASA targeting launch on Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:04 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

The Atlas first stage booster is powered by the Russian made RD AMROSS RD-180 single engine with dual thrust chambers and nozzles providing 860,200 lb sea level liftoff thrust.  It is fueled by RP-1 and liquid oxygen (LOX).

The booster is augmented with five strap on Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM) 63 solid rocket boosters (SRBs) provided by Northrop Grumman and provide 371,550 lb thrust each.

Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage with generates 22,900 lb thrust.  Fueled by LOX and LH2 (liquid hydrogen).

Here is an updated launch visibility map from ULA showing when and where spectators in the Southeast US can see the launch:

Overall this marks the 90th Atlas V launch

To date ULA has launched 146 times with 100 percent mission success.

UpClose nose cone and decaled logo view on ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force, NASA and NNSA UpClose nose cone and logo view on ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force and NASA targeting launch on Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:04 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

Watch Ken’s commentary at WFTV ABC 9 Orlando about the ULA Atlas V launch Dec 5 of STP-3 space technology demonstration satellite with US Space Force & NASA payloads in particular for nuclear blast detonation detection:

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/ula-rolls-out-atlas-v-rocket-ahead-launch-set-this-weekend/JRO64EVRSRHVPM3YHVWZ2F2MJM/

 

Dr. Ken Kremer of Space UpClose interviewed on WFTV ABC 9 Orlando about ULA STP-3 launch on Dec. 2, 2021 and December’s upcoming busy manifest of 5 rocket launches from Florida Space Coast. Screenshot: WFTV ABC/Space UpClose

 

ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force and NASA targeting launch on Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:04 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about National Security missions, SpaceX  Starlink , SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragons, Artemis, SLS, Orion and NASA missions, DART,  Lucy Asteroid mission, Blue Origin and Space Tourism, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2 & 3, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

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

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

Please consider supporting Ken’s work by purchasing his photos and/or donating at Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/kenkremer

 

ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force and NASA targeting launch on Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:04 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

 

STP-3 mission rocket graphic of Atlas V rocket components and two payloads; STP Satellite STPSat-6 and the rideshare spacecraft is the Long Duration Propulsive Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) LDPE – 1. Credit: ULA

 

Photographers set remote cameras: ULA Atlas V rocket for Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for U.S. Space Force and NASA targets launch on Dec. 7, 2021 from pad 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credit: Jean Wright/SpaceUpClose.com

 

Rollout of ULA Atlas V rocket on Dec. 3, 2021 from the VIF to pad 41 for the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force and NASA targeting launch on Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:04 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. As seen from the Indian River Lagoon in Titusville. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/SpaceUpClose.com

x

 

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.