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Atlas V to Launch Solar Orbiter

Rocket: Atlas V 411
Mission: Solar Orbiter
Launch Date: Friday, Feb. 7, 2020
Launch Time: Targeted for 11:15 p.m. EST at the opening of a two hour launch window
Launch Location: Space Launch Complex-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

Mission Information: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 configuration rocket will launch the Solar Orbiter spacecraft on its journey to study the sun for the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.

The spacecraft will make looping orbits around the sun and use 10 instruments to observe solar physics in unprecedented detail. At closest approach, Solar Orbiter will be about approximately 26 million miles (42 million km) from the sun.

Solar Orbiter is an international cooperative mission between ESA and NASA. ESA's Engineering & Test Center (ESTEC) in The Netherlands is managing the development effort. Airbus developed the spacecraft. The European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Germany will operate Solar Orbiter after launch.

Launch Notes: This will be the 137th mission for United Launch Alliance. It is the 82nd for an Atlas V rocket and the 6th in the 411 configuration.

Launch Updates: To keep up to speed with updates, dial the ULA launch hotline at 1-877-852-4321 or join the conversation at, and; hashtags #AtlasV SolarOrbiter #WeAreAllSolarOrbiters

Go Atlas! Go Centaur! Go Solar Orbiter!


Atlas V Starliner OFT

Atlas V

ULA’s Atlas V rocket is a workhorse for the U.S. military, intelligence community and scientific researchers. Developed as a modular vehicle, each Atlas V is tailored to the needs of its passenger by adding as many as five side-mounted solid rocket boosters for increased lift performance and a variety of available payload fairings in various diameters and lengths to protect satellites during atmospheric ascent. The high-energy Centaur upper stage, which has been used to send spacecraft to every planet in our solar system, is incorporated into Atlas V to deliver the payloads to their intended destinations.

ULA's will fly the Atlas V rocket with a kerosene-fueled common core booster, one solid rocket booster and the hydrogen-fueled Centaur upper stage.


Space Launch Complex 41

Space Launch Complex 41, the East Coast home of the Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, employs a “clean pad” concept of operations to ready launch vehicles and payloads for ascent into space. The rocket elements are assembled atop a Mobile Launch Platform inside the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) located adjacent to the launch pad. The platform and fully stacked Atlas V then travels by rail approximately 1,800 feet northward from the VIF to the pad for the final countdown, fueling and liftoff.

Complex 41 was constructed by the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s for the Titan rocket program. The site was rejuvenated in support of the Atlas V starting in the late 1990s.