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Satnews Daily
January 16th, 2017

ULA NROL-79's Launch Date Troublesome... Working to Resolve Atlas V Booster Issue

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

United Launch Alliance's Atlas V, which will  carry a classified payload—NROL-79 for the National Reconnaissance Office—is on hold. It was originally set to launch on December 1, 2016. 

The Atlas V family of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV) have served ULA's commitment to  launch services for the US government. Since their debut in August 2002, Atlas V vehicles have achieved 100 percent mission success of more than 600 launches to date, in launches from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Space Launch Complex-3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Built modularly, Atlas V has followed a carefully executed program of incremental improvements resulting in 100 percent mission success.

The team is actively working to resolve Atlas V second stage booster issues discovered during vehicle testing. This additional time will allow the ULA team to ensure all systems are operating nominally prior to launch. A new launch date will be released once it is established. The Atlas V is set to lift off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg air Force Base in California.

Regarding another launch, the Atlas V SBIRS mission remains on schedule for January 19 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, pending final vehicle verifications.

The Atlas V family, which includes the Atlas V 400 and 500 series, are the latest evolutionary versions of the Atlas launch system. Atlas V uses a standard common core booster™ (CCB), up to five strap-on solid rocket boosters (SRB), an upper-stage Centaur in either the Single-Engine Centaur (SEC) or the Dual-Engine Centaur (DEC) configuration, and one of several payload fairings (PLF). A three-digit (XYZ) naming convention is used for the Atlas V 400 and 500 series.