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.
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 551 rocket will launch the Space Test Program (STP)-3 mission for the U.S. Space Force. Liftoff will occur from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.
Space Launch Complex-41
Space Launch Complex 41, the East
Coast home of the Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Space 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
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.