Science and Technology News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Team Patrick-Cape Launches Atlas V CLIO Spacecraft

by 45th Space Wing
Public Affairs


9/16/2014 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION -- The 45th Space Wing supported a successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the CLIO Spacecraft into orbit for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. The Spacecraft lifted off from here at The Cape at 8:10 p.m. from Launch Complex 41.

The 45th Space Wing team of military personnel, government civilians, and contractors provided launch support to the ULA mission, including weather forecasts, launch and range operations, security, safety, and public affairs.

The CLIO spacecraft is encapsulated in the 4-m (14-ft) diameter large payload fairing (LPF). The LPF is a bisector (two-piece shell) fairing consisting of aluminum skin/stringer construction with vertical split-line longerons. The vehicle's height with the PLF is approximately 189 feet.

Since 1957, the Atlas rocket has been an integral part of the United States' space program, supporting national defense missions, launching Mercury astronauts to orbit, and sending spacecraft to the farthest reaches of the solar system, according to a CLIO Mission booklet provide by ULA.

Over its nearly six decades, the Atlas booster has undergone a series of continuous improvements, culminating in the current Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV). Designed in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, the modular design of the Atlas V allows for multiple configurations to meet specific customer requirements.

"Being able to be part of a team who continues to ensure 100 percent mission success to be their No. 1 priority is just a fantastic thing to experience," said Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, who also served as the Launch Decision Authority for the mission.

"That kind of mindset not only takes us where we need to go, it also defines us as to who we are," she added.

The CLIO mission marks the 49th Atlas V launch and the 25th of the 401 configuration.

CLIO is also the 60th ULA launch from Cape Canaveral and the company's 11th of 2014.

"On behalf of Team Patrick-Cape, we tip our hats to ULA, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, and everyone associated with this mission. We couldn't do what we do without the combined efforts of our entire team," Armagno said. "You're the best team out there.

"Go Atlas. Go Centaur. Go CLIO," she said.

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