Atlas V Rocket launches on Monday; STP-3 mission to launch before dawn
Launch of Atlas V Rocket
The Space Test Program 3 mission for the US military and NASA will be launched by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket early Monday, Dec. 6, and you can watch it live. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:04 a.m. EST (0904 GMT). A leak in a ground propellant system for the rocket’s RP-1 fuel caused the launch to be postponed by one day.
From Space Launch Complex 41 of the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, the Atlas V rocket will launch the STP-3 mission for the United States Space Force. The STP Satellite 6, or STP-6, is the mission’s primary satellite, and it carries a variety of experiments.
STP-3 also carries the LDPE-1, or Long Duration Propulsive Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Seconday Payload Adapter, a platform that houses various experiments. It will be able to stay in orbit for up to three years.
Summary of the Mission
The Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission will be launched by a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 551 rocket for the United States Space Force’s (USSF) Space Systems Command (SSC). STP-3 is a co-manifested mission that matures technology and decreases the Department of the Air Force’s future space program risk. It backs the United States, Space Force, by enhancing war-fighting capabilities in nuclear detonation detection, meteorology, space domain awareness (SDA), as well as communication.
Both satellites will be sent into geosynchronous orbit. Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida will be the launch site.
STP Satellite (STPSat)-6 is the primary spacecraft, and the Long Duration Propulsive Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) (LDPE) – 1 is the rideshare spacecraft. Northrop Grumman designed and manufactured both spacecraft.
The STPSat-6 payloads comprise:
• The Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System 3 (SABRS-3). This is an operational mission by the National Nuclear Security Administration
• Along with NASA’s Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD)payload
They are putting new technologies to the test in preparation for the next generation of data relay satellites. It includes various space weather and situational awareness payloads from the Department of Defense Space Experiments Review Board. LDPE-1 is an experimental payload spacecraft with a mission length of 1-3 years. The trials are being conducted to inform future risk reduction efforts.
Three engineering elements debut on the STP-3 mission, all of which are aimed to reduce risk and gain flight experience before being used on the Vulcan Centaur. Out-of-Autoclave (OoA) payload fairings, an in-flight power system, and GPS enhanced navigation are among them.
The OoA payload fairing was created using a novel manufacturing procedure that uses a different method of curing carbon fiber composites. It enables a more efficient manufacturing process, reduced costs, and reduced system mass while retaining the same degree of dependability and quality.
A new In-Flight Power System is also available on the Atlas V. (IFPS). During the rocket’s protracted ascent, which lasts more than seven hours, this mechanism provides power to the satellites’ batteries. When the spacecraft is put into geosynchronous orbit, the IFPS will verify that the batteries are fully charged.
GPS Enhanced Navigation is a new first-flight component that provides GPS signals using existing flight computer technology. It improves the performance of the Centaur’s navigation system, allowing the Centaur to reach even more precise orbits.