|Atlas Booster Arrives at Cape Canaveral |
Atlas Booster Arrives at Cape Canaveral
By Ken Warren, 45th Space Wing Public Affairs.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida -- June 8, 2001 (AFPN) -- The upcoming Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle era here got another step closer with the arrival of the "first flight" Atlas V booster June 5.
An Atlas V, the booster for the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, is unloaded from a Russian An-124-100 transport aircraft at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on June 6 in preparation for a May launch.
Photo by Carleton Bailie
The booster is the largest and most powerful Atlas built to date. Because of its size, it was shipped separately from the first flight Centaur upper stage, which arrived at the Cape on June 3.
After being offloaded from a Russian transport aircraft June 6, the booster was taken to the new Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center and placed near its Centaur upper stage. In the coming months, they will be used in a series of tests at the operations center to validate all support systems. Later, the vehicle will be moved to the new Vertical Integration Facility where it will be used to validate VIF umbilical connections and the mobile launch platform autocouplers.
"We now have the actual launch vehicle here at the launch site to start validating all of the ground infrastructure that will support a launch," said Adrian Laffitte, director of Atlas launch programs for Lockheed Martin.
The first launch of the Atlas V is scheduled for May.
Lockheed Martin's Atlas V and Boeing's Delta IV are the cornerstones of the Air Force's EELV program. The Air Force awarded $500 million contracts to both companies for EELV engineering and manufacturing. The two companies were also awarded separate contracts for initial launch services on EELV. These two families of launch vehicles will replace the Air Force's current fleet of medium- and heavy-launch systems -- Atlas, Delta and Titan. (Courtesy of Air Force Space Command News Service)