CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Dec. 10, 2007 -- A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket successfully launched a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payload at 5:05 p.m., EST, today from Space Launch Complex 41. This launch marks the fourth Atlas V EELV mission this year and the 12th ULA mission in 2007.
"ULA is proud to have played a critical role for this important NRO mission, ensuring that our nation has the technology and spaceborne assets needed to acquire intelligence worldwide," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president of Atlas programs. "Close teamwork with the NRO Office of Space Launch, the U.S. Air Force Launch and Range Systems Wing and the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral made today's successful mission possible."
This mission, designated AV-015, was launched aboard an Atlas V 401 configuration and it used a single common core booster powered by the RD-180 engine. This Atlas V flight marked the 208th RD-180 firing. Atlas V has 11 previous successful launches including two missions for NASA, one for the NRO, two for the Air Force, and six for commercial customers.
ULA's next launch, currently scheduled for Dec. 20, is the GPS IIR-18 satellite for the Air Force aboard a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo., supported by transition employees in Huntington Beach, Calif. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., Harlingen, Texas, San Diego, Calif., and Denver, Colo. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.