30th Space Wing Public Affairs
12/15/2014 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Team
Vandenberg successfully launched the United Launch Alliance Atlas V
rocket carrying a National Reconnaissance Office payload from Space
Launch Complex-3 here Friday, Dec. 12, at 7:19 p.m. PDT.
Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, was the launch decision authority.
"This launch was an incredible achievement for Team Vandenberg, ULA, NRO
and our other fellow launch partners," said Balts. "This Atlas V launch
marked the last of the year and I am very proud of the teamwork that
led to the success of not only today's launch, but those that preceded.
The hard work and dedication of everyone involved continues to ensure
our nation's access to space. This was especially evident by our base
electricians who worked tirelessly through last night's extreme weather
to ensure power was available for launch."
This is the most powerful Atlas V rocket launched from Vandenberg
because it has four solid rocket boosters, producing approximately
250,000 pounds of thrust per solid rocket. These four solids along with
the main engine of the Atlas V produced a total thrust around 2 million
pounds at liftoff!
"This has been an exciting mission" said 1st Lt. Adam Rich, Lead Atlas V
Engineer for the 4th Space Launch Squadron. "Not only is it the first
use of four solid rocket boosters on an Atlas here at Vandenberg, but it
is also the first launch a new second stage engine design."
The 4th SLS has been working alongside ULA since September to make sure
this launch goes off successfully. The Atlas V first stage booster
landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard the Antanov AV-124. After all
the rocket components arrive here at Vandenberg, they go through a
receipt inspection and are then transported to the pad for stacking in
an operation known as Launch Vehicle on Stand. Since LVOS, engineers and
technicians have been working around the clock to complete all the
installations, system checkouts, and tests necessary for launch.