Author Topic: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - Sep 24, 2017 05:50 UTC (Sep 23 2250 PDT)  (Read 35870 times)

Offline Targeteer

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If the reports of the host are correct, the auxiliary payload was shipped

http://www.losangeles.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123451106

SBIRS HEO-4 Shipped

Story at a Glance
• HEO-4 was shipped on May 13
• The satellite completed Thermal Vacuum Chamber testing in early January
•  Testing demonstrated that the sensor's performance met or exceeded that of HEO-3
• HEO-4 will complete the replenishment of polar missile warning satellites

6/16/2015 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif -- The fourth Space Based Infrared System Highly Elliptical Orbit payload was shipped on May 13 from Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Azusa, Calif., by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, the SBIRS prime contractor.  The HEO payload is a space-based sensor capable of detecting missile launches from the northern latitudes.  The payload will be integrated with a host spacecraft and prepared for launch.

Prior to shipment, HEO-4 passed many significant production milestones.  Most significant, on Jan. 5, the sensor completed Thermal Vacuum Chamber testing, verifying performance in simulated space environmental extremes.  This testing fully demonstrated that the sensor's performance met or exceeded that of its predecessor, HEO-3.  HEO-4 is the final sensor delivery from the SBIRS Follow-on Production contract, which produced a total of four infrared sensors.

"I am extremely proud of the hard work of the joint Air Force and contractor team, that worked hard to deliver HEO-4," said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the Air Force's program executive officer for Space and the Space and Missile Systems Center commander. "HEO-4 will complete the replenishment of our polar missile warning capability, ensuring continuity of this critical operational capability."

The SBIRS program is managed by the Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.  Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif. is the SBIRS prime contractor, and Northrup Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif., is the payload integrator.  The 460th Space Wing at Buckley AFB in Aurora, Colo., operates the SBIRS system.  The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, Combatant Commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers.  The system enhances global missile launch detection capability, supports the nation's ballistic missile defense system, expands the country's technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolsters situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 10:08 AM by input~2 »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline vapour_nudge

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - June 13, 2017
« Reply #1 on: 03/02/2017 11:00 PM »
In the SFN article for this launch it appears work has probably already started at the launch site

“We are already pressing on with L-42,” said Lt. Col. Eric Zarybnisky, 4th Space Launch Squadron commander and the Air Force launch director at Vandenberg. “We have received the booster and some other flight hardware. So we will launch L-79 and roll right into L-42. In fact, we are going to start working L-47, a Delta out here, shortly after that. So no rest for the weary here at Vandenberg for a little while.”


Another Atlas V 541 variant. Might be AV-072
Quite a few launches from Vandy this year, not just Atlas & Delta
« Last Edit: 03/02/2017 11:01 PM by vapour_nudge »

Offline vapour_nudge

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - June 13, 2017
« Reply #2 on: 03/03/2017 01:42 PM »
Interesting. Is the SBIRS HEO4 sensor part of the NROL-42 payload for this launch? I had no idea. Oops

Offline Newton_V

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - June 13, 2017
« Reply #3 on: 03/03/2017 03:53 PM »
Another Atlas V 541 variant. Might be AV-072
Quite a few launches from Vandy this year, not just Atlas & Delta

L-42 is AV-072.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - June 13, 2017
« Reply #4 on: 03/04/2017 04:00 AM »
Interesting. Is the SBIRS HEO4 sensor part of the NROL-42 payload for this launch? I had no idea. Oops

I don't know, but it has been speculated that the payload is TRUMPET F/O-2 2 with SBIRS-HEO 4. I don't remember where I got that speculation from.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Targeteer

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - June 13, 2017
« Reply #5 on: 03/05/2017 10:43 PM »
Interesting. Is the SBIRS HEO4 sensor part of the NROL-42 payload for this launch? I had no idea. Oops

I don't know, but it has been speculated that the payload is TRUMPET F/O-2 2 with SBIRS-HEO 4. I don't remember where I got that speculation from.

Maybe from the launch schedule on this site :)

June 13 - NROL-42: Trumpet Follow On 2 (TBD) - Atlas V 541 (AV-072) - Vandenberg SLC-3E
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline vapour_nudge

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - August 14, 2017
« Reply #6 on: 05/10/2017 10:44 PM »
According to SFN this launch is now scheduled for the 14th of August

Offline William Graham

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - June 13, 2017
« Reply #7 on: 06/27/2017 12:05 AM »
Patches for this one have turned up on eBay.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NROL-42-Mission-Atlas-V-Satellite-Launch-VAFB-NRO-USAF-DOD-Space-Patch/253013504479
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Atlas-AV-072-Launch-Vehicle-NROL-42-Satellite-VAFB-USAF-NRO-Space-Patch-/401354622054

I'm assuming the one with the bear will be the fairing patch, and the other is the launch patch. They've gone with a Douglas Adams theme for that one - referencing 42 being the ultimate answer to life the universe and everything.

At a first glance these doesn't seem to be giving too much away. The four stars on the right of the "ultimate answer" patch loosely resemble a pattern we've seen on the fairing patches for the last three "Improved Trumpet" satellites. The same symbol may also appear on the bear patch - if you ignore the largest of the five stars on the right, the remaining stars follow the same pattern.

Patch aside, another NROL-35-class payload (i.e. a "further improved Trumpet") is likely from the vehicle configuration and the timing from SBIRS HEO-4 shipping. We should be able to confirm this from drop zones, orbit, and confirmation a few months after launch that the SBIRS payload is in orbit.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - September 11, 2017
« Reply #8 on: 07/27/2017 06:39 PM »
Or will the NROL-42 launch be delayed?

L-42 is in September now.
***

Delayed to September 11, as per the July 26 update on
https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/
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Offline Newton_V

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - September 11, 2017
« Reply #9 on: 07/28/2017 02:20 PM »
png version:

Offline Newton_V

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - June 13, 2017
« Reply #10 on: 07/29/2017 01:59 AM »
At a first glance these doesn't seem to be giving too much away. The four stars on the right of the "ultimate answer" patch loosely resemble a pattern we've seen on the fairing patches for the last three "Improved Trumpet" satellites.

On the "ultimate answer" patch, the 5 stars represent the 5-meter PLF and the 4 stars are the 4 SRBs.
Yeah, I know it sounds lame, but that was the description that came with the patch.

Offline Newton_V

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - September 11, 2017
« Reply #11 on: 08/20/2017 02:42 PM »
Delayed to September 11, as per the July 26 update on
https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/

Now the 14th...

Offline vapour_nudge

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - September 14, 2017
« Reply #12 on: 08/21/2017 02:59 AM »
 8)
« Last Edit: 08/21/2017 04:44 AM by vapour_nudge »

Online Chris Bergin

ULA:

(Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Aug. 24, 2017) The ULA Atlas V carrying the NROL-42 mission for the National Reconnaissance office is scheduled for Sept. 14. The Atlas V will lift off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Online Chris Bergin

(Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Sept. 8, 2017) - The ULA Atlas V carrying the NROL-42 mission scheduled for Sept. 14 from Vandenberg Air Force Base has been postponed. The launch vehicle and spacecraft are healthy and secure at Space Launch Complex-3.

 

The decision to delay launch is based on the current forecasting for Hurricane Irma. Some critical members of the ULA launch team that support launch on both coasts are returning to Florida due to the threat from Hurricane Irma which is currently forecast to impact the Cape Canaveral area early Monday morning.  The safety of our employees and their families are at the forefront of this decision. Hurricane preparations and hardware securing are underway at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. A new launch date for the NROL-42 mission will be determined once the impacts of the storm are understood.

 

Online Chris Bergin

(Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Sept. 15, 2017) - The ULA Atlas V carrying the NROL-42 mission in support of national security is scheduled for Sept. 21 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The ULA team is on track with launch processing to support this date.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - September 21, 2017
« Reply #16 on: 09/15/2017 09:51 PM »
(Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Sept. 15, 2017) - The ULA Atlas V carrying the NROL-42 mission in support of national security is scheduled for Sept. 21 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The ULA team is on track with launch processing to support this date.

Any idea of the launch window, given the information from the previously scheduled, then delayed launch dates?
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Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - September 21, 2017
« Reply #17 on: 09/15/2017 10:01 PM »
(Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Sept. 15, 2017) - The ULA Atlas V carrying the NROL-42 mission in support of national security is scheduled for Sept. 21 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The ULA team is on track with launch processing to support this date.

Any idea of the launch window, given the information from the previously scheduled, then delayed launch dates?
There won't be public info until days before the launch.

Offline Newton_V

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Re: Atlas V 541 - NROL-42 - VAFB SLC-3E - September 21, 2017
« Reply #18 on: 09/15/2017 10:49 PM »

[/quote]
Any idea of the launch window, given the information from the previously scheduled, then delayed launch dates?
[/quote]

Well, let's just say you won't be needing any eclipse glasses.

Offline jaredhead

Quote
Liftoff of Atlas 5 rocket performing the #NROL42 deployment mission is targeted for 10:38 p.m. local time Sept. 21 at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

https://twitter.com/SpaceflightNow/status/908817365021978624

Offline jacqmans

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Atlas V to Launch NROL-42

•Atlas V NROL-42 Mission ArtworkRocket: Atlas V 541
•Mission: NROL-42
•Launch Date: Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017
•Launch Time: 10:38 p.m. PDT
•Live Broadcast: Stay tuned for how you can watch live
•Launch Location: Space Launch Complex 3, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

Launch Notes: This launch will be ULA’s sixth of 2017 and 121st overall. NROL-42 will be the 25th mission that ULA has launched for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) since the company was founded in 2006. This mission will mark the 73rd Atlas V launch since its inaugural launch on Aug. 21, 2002.

Launch Updates: To keep up to speed with updates to the launch countdown, dial the ULA launch hotline at 1-877-852-4321 or join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch; hashtags #AtlasV and #NROL42.


Go Atlas! Go Centaur! Go NROL-42!

Offline jacqmans

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Offline Targeteer

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Is that the shortest available fairing?
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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A couple more photos released by ULA

Offline Newton_V

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Is that the shortest available fairing?
Yes, the 68 ft.  Others are 77 ft. and 86 (which hasn't flown)

Offline catdlr

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The following is a media update from the United Launch Alliance (ULA). Please direct all questions or comments regarding this update to the ULA.


"Good afternoon - everything is progressing toward the ULA Atlas V NROL-42 launch in support of national security. The mission, for the National Reconnaissance Office, is set to lift off on an Atlas V rocket on Thursday, Sept. 21 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch time is 10:38 p.m. PDT."

"ALL TIMES PACIFIC
TRANSMIT TEST – SEPTEMBER 20, 2017
12:00 – 12:30 P.M.

LAUNCH – SEPTEMBER 21, 2017
BARS AND TONE – 9:47 P.M.
PROGRAM START – 10:18 P.M.
TRANSMISSION FOR DIGITAL HIGH DEFINITON
SATELLITE: SES 3
TRANSPONDER: 24
BAND: C-Band Digital
ORBITAL POSITION: 103 degrees west
HD BANDWIDTH: 18 MHz (Half Transponder ‘CD’)
UPLINK FREQ: 6,414.000 MHz (Horizontal)
DOWNLINK FREQ: 4,189.000 MHz (Vertical)
SYMBOL RATE: 13
FEC: ¾
DATA RATE: 17.9705
DVBS-QPSK
MPEG-2
AUDIO EMBEDDED"
Tony De La Rosa

Offline input~2

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EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC.
CALIFORNIA.
MEXICO.
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS, ROCKET LAUNCHING
0455Z TO 0639Z DAILY 22 THRU 25 SEP
IN AREAS BOUND BY:
A. 31-35N 119-03W, 31-29N 119-21W,
32-59N 119-59W, 33-05N 119-41W.
B. 23-34N 113-31W, 22-52N 115-18W,
25-26N 116-32W, 26-09N 114-44W.
C. 07-14N 104-14W, 05-34N 108-14W,
10-11N 110-11W, 11-51N 106-09W.
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 250739Z SEP 17.//

Authority: WESTERN RANGE 142322Z SEP 17.

Date: 180355Z SEP 17
Cancel: 25073900 Sep 17

Offline input~2

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Centaur deorbit area

SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN OCEAN.
DNC 05.
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS, ROCKET LAUNCHING
1506Z TO 1627Z DAILY 22 THRU 25 SEP
IN AREA BOUND BY
52-13S 142-32E, 50-39S 145-30E,
45-58S 139-47E, 47-23S 136-55E
2. CANCEL THIS MSG 251727Z SEP 17.//

Authority: WESTERN RANGE 142322Z SEP 17.

Date: 180420Z SEP 17
Cancel: 25172700 Sep 17

Online Chris Bergin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From: 30th Space Wing Public Affairs, www.vandenberg.af.mil

ATLAS V LAUNCH SCHEDULED FROM VANDENBERG

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Team Vandenberg is scheduled to launch a
United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a National Reconnaissance
Office payload from Space Launch Complex-3 on Thursday, Sept. 21, with a
launch window opening at 10:38 p.m. PDT. 

Col. Gregory Wood, 30th Space Wing vice commander, will be the launch
decision authority.

"This launch is the culmination of many months of work by United Launch
alliance, the National Reconnaissance Office and the 30th Space Wing," said
Wood. "All of Team Vandenberg is dedicated to mission success and proud to
play a part in delivering these capabilities to our nation."

The 4th Space Launch Squadron executes integrated launch operations with a
focus on mission assurance for this launch operation. 

"This launch is a prime example of teamwork by multiple organizations that
have worked around the clock to assure mission safety and security," said
Lt. Col. Kenneth Decker, 4th Space Launch Squadron commander. "Given the
dedication of the men and women have worked to ensure readiness of the
launch vehicle and payload, we're on track for a successful launch."

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Quote
ULA's Atlas V launch of NROL-42 from VAFB still on track for 10:38 pm Pacific Time Sept 21, though weather is only 40% favorable.

https://twitter.com/spcplcyonline/status/910101754552954882

Edit to add: according to forecast attached a few posts below it's actually the other way around, ie 40% POV so 60% GO.
« Last Edit: 09/20/2017 08:43 AM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Ted Molczan has published his calculated NROL-42 pre-launch elements on Seesat-l.

The (apparent) previous launch of this payload type was NROL-35 in December 2014.  Observations from that launch are used to produce these elements.

NROL-35 launch thread: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36303.0

If the launch is delayed be weather,
Quote
Assuming a planar launch window, in the event of a launch delay, the time of launch will move earlier by 4 to 5 min. per day.

« Last Edit: 09/20/2017 02:03 AM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline catdlr

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 LAUNCH ALERT

                              Brian Webb
                  [email protected]
                        www.spacearchive.info

                             2017 September 19 (Tuesday) 19:46 PDT
----------------------------------------------------------------------

                     THURSDAY VANDENBERG LAUNCH

An Atlas V rocket carrying a classified payload is scheduled for
launch from south Vandenberg AFB this Thursday evening at 22:38 PDT.

Following lift-off, the rocket will climb vertically for several
seconds before it begins a gradual turn and heads over the ocean. If
the launch is successful, the Atlas will place the NROL-42 payload
into orbit for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Weather permitting, the launch could be visible as far away as San
Francisco, Mammoth, and San Diego, Calif.

People in very quiet locations in coastal Santa Barbara and Ventura
Counties and the western Santa Monica mountains may hear a distant,
muffled rumble or perhaps a sonic boom from the launch some time
between T+4 and T+12 minutes.

Members of the public desiring a close-up view of the launch will
probably congregate west of Lompoc in the vicinity of highway 246
(west Ocean Avenue) and Union Sugar Road. However, since this area is
near the coast, there is a possibility that the liftoff will be hidden
by low clouds or fog.

Regardless of where you plan to go to view the launch, allow yourself
enough time to get there well before liftoff. After you arrive, be
aware of your surroundings and possible hazards such as traffic.

For launch status and countdown information, go to:

      spaceflightnow.com

      www.ula.com

For information on viewing Vandenberg rocket and missile launches, go
to:

      www.spacearchive.info/vafbview.htm

During a launch earlier this year, Pete Heins, N6ZE, discovered the
countdown feed was delayed by approximately 75 seconds. Rather than
relying on a feed for launch cueing, use a GPS receiver or another
source to obtain the exact time. You can also set your watch to the
exact time from the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(www.nist.gov).

----------------------------------------------------------------------

                           SECURITY POLICY

Launch Alert does not intentionally publish sensitive, potentially
sensitive, or inside information. All information comes from open
sources or is approved for public release.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

                             TIME FORMAT

All times in this newsletter are given in Pacific Time using a 24-hour
format based on military time. Under this system, regular time is
expressed as follows:
                                            24-hour
                        Regular Time        Format
                    ---------------------   -------
                    12:00 a.m. (midnight)    00:00
                    6:00  a.m.               06:00
                    12:00 p.m. (noon)        12:00
                    6:00  p.m.               18:00

No distinction is made between Pacific Standard Time and Pacific
Daylight Time.

For assistance in converting military time to regular time, go to:

    www.spacearchive.info/military.htm

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright 2017, Brian Webb. All rights reserved. No portion of this
newsletter may be used without identifying Launch Alert as the
source and providing a functioning hyperlink or text that point to
http://www.spacearchive.info/newsletter.htm.
Tony De La Rosa

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Weather forecast:

Quote
L-2 Day Forecast – 19 Sep 2017:
T-0 Forecast: A deep trough will move over the range on Thursday throughout the count, with the center of the trough passing over SLC-03 by T-0. This lower pressure will begin to mix out the marine layer and cause stronger surface winds. Throughout the count, the remnants of the marine layer will cause a slight reduction in visibility with patchy fog. Additionally, low stratus and stratocumulus will be present by T-0. Winds will be out of the northwest between 12 – 15 knots with gusts to 20 knots at the surface. Temperatures will be between 55F and 60F at T-0. Max upper level winds will be out of the west at 95 knots from 39,000 to 40,000 feet. The current space weather index is at standard background levels. Overall POV is 40% with Launch Visibility and Ground Winds being the constraints of concern.

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In case you were wondering:

Quote
#NROL42 Mission Patch depicts a grizzly bear in motion, representing the unceasing motion of a satellite along its orbital path.

https://twitter.com/natreconofc/status/910576611379994625

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Offline zubenelgenubi

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In case you were wondering:

Quote
#NROL42 Mission Patch depicts a grizzly bear in motion, representing the unceasing motion of a satellite along its orbital path.

https://twitter.com/natreconofc/status/910576611379994625
??? , ok.
Cold-climate grizzlies (brown bears) hibernate for 5-7 months of the year.
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Online Chris Bergin

ULA launch readiness review was completed today everything is progressing toward the ULA Atlas V NROL-42 launch in support of national security. The mission, for the National Reconnaissance Office, is set to lift off on a ULA Atlas V rocket on Thursday, Sept. 21 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Today’s L-1 weather forecast continues to show 60% favorable conditions for launch. The launch time is 10:38 p.m. PDT.

Offline Newton_V

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Got a great tour out at the pad today.  Got some pics with mama bear, walked out on the mast, stuck my head up an SRB nozzle (they look a lot bigger up close).   Makes it all worth it.
It was REALLY windy out there today.

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Weather forecast issued L-1, still 60% GO:

Quote
L-1 Day Forecast – 20 Sep 2017:
T-0 Forecast: A deep trough will move over the range on Thursday throughout the count, with the center of the trough passing over SLC-03 by T-0. This lower pressure will begin to mix out the marine layer and cause strong surface winds. Throughout the count, the remnants of the marine layer will cause a slight reduction in visibility with patchy fog. Additionally, low stratus and stratocumulus will be present by T-0. Winds will be out of the northwest between 15 – 18 knots with gusts to 25 knots at the surface. Temperatures will be between 55F and 60F at T-0. Max upper level winds will be out of the west at 100 knots from 37,000 to 38,000 feet. The current space weather index is at standard background levels. Overall POV is 40% with Launch Visibility and Ground Winds being the constraints of concern.

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Haven’t found this image with a Google search so think it’s new:

Quote
The #AtlasV stands 196 feet tall or about 20 stories and weighs more than 1 million pounds fully fueled. #NROL42

https://twitter.com/natreconofc/status/910935457768361984

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That Vandenberg fog really makes for some spectacular shots.  What a beaut!

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Asking for status per if there's a launch tonight or not.
« Last Edit: 09/21/2017 10:05 PM by Chris Bergin »

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Official:

(Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Sept. 21, 2017) The ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the NROL-42 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office has been delayed. The delay allows the team time to replace a faulty battery on the Atlas V booster. The vehicle and spacecraft remain stable. Launch of the NROL-42 mission is scheduled for no earlier than Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017.

 

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Selection of photos from Shorealone Films: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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I have not seen it in this thread, but what is the target orbit of this sat? Launching on a Atlas V 541 with the short fairing option would indicate a high density (unlikely) of the sat or a high energy orbit. A GTO orbit doesnt make much sense from VAFB on a Atlas V 541. So is it going into a Tundra orbit with 24 hours period or a Molniya orbit? Is an inclination of 63.4 degrees reachable from VAFB? I am a bit confused to be honest.
« Last Edit: 09/22/2017 09:23 AM by Semmel »

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I have not seen it in this thread, but what is the target orbit of this sat? Launching on a Atlas V 541 with the short fairing option would indicate a high density (unlikely) of the sat or a high energy orbit. A GTO orbit doesnt make much sense from VAFB on a Atlas V 541. So is it going into a Tundra orbit with 24 hours period or a Molniya orbit? Is an inclination of 63.4 degrees reachable from VAFB? I am a bit confused to be honest.

Molniya orbit - same NOTAMS as NROL-35

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ULA:

(Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Sept. 22, 2017) - The ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the NROL-42 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office is confirmed on the Western Range for Saturday, Sept. 23. The launch time is 10:30 p.m. Pacific. The battery replacement is on schedule and the ULA and customer teams are ready to support this new launch date.

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The following is a media update from the United Launch Alliance (ULA). Please direct all questions and comments regarding this update to the ULA.


Subject: Media Update: ULA Atlas V NROL-42 Launch Set for September 23
Date: Sep 22, 2017 4:27 PM

Good afternoon – the ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the NROL-42 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office is confirmed on the Western Range for Saturday, Sept. 23. The launch time is 10:30 p.m. Pacific. The battery replacement is on schedule and the ULA and customer teams are ready to support this new launch date. Today’s L-1 weather forecast continues to show 80% favorable conditions for launch.

Launch Day Forecast
Overall probability of violating weather constraints: 20%
Areas of concern: Launch Visibility

Overall probability of violating weather constraints for 24 Hour Delay: 10%
Areas of concern: Launch Visibility

Launch Broadcast Satellite Coordinates + Webcast

LAUNCH – SEPTEMBER 23, 2017
BARS AND TONE – 9:39 P.M.
PROGRAM START – 10:10 P.M.

TRANSMISSION FOR DIGITAL HIGH DEFINITON
SATELLITE: SES 3
TRANSPONDER: 24
BAND: C-Band Digital
ORBITAL POSITION: 103 degrees west
HD BANDWIDTH: 18 MHz (Half Transponder ‘CD’)
UPLINK FREQ: 6,414.000 MHz (Horizontal)
DOWNLINK FREQ: 4,189.000 MHz (Vertical)
SYMBOL RATE: 13
FEC: ¾
DATA RATE: 17.9705
DVBS-QPSK
MPEG-2
AUDIO EMBEDDED

WEB CAST AVAILABLE AT: http://www.ulalaunch.com   and www.youtube.com/unitedlaunchalliance
Tony De La Rosa

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William Graham's article, and his awesome work on what these spacecraft may be about....

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/09/atlas-v-preparing-to-launch-nrol-42/

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Atlas V NROL-42 Live Launch Broadcast

United Launch Alliance
Scheduled for Sep 23, 2017

Tune in for the live launch broadcast as United Launch Alliance's Atlas V launches the NROL-42 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office.

LAUNCH – SEPTEMBER 23, 2017
BARS AND TONE – 9:39 P.M.
PROGRAM START – 10:10 P.M.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvr_-_XsAY4?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

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ULA:

On track for #AtlasV #NROL42 at 10:10pmPDT.

So that's moved up 20 mins.

Online Chris Bergin

Or not...
ULA:
Whoops! On track for 10:30pmPDT. Live broadcast starts at 10:10 pmPDT #LiveTweetProbs

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 Spaceflight101 LIVE‏ @S101_Live 4m4 minutes ago

L-70 Minutes: All #AtlasV tanks are topping up to flight level. Final preps of the hydraulic system commence at this time in the count.

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 Spaceflight101 LIVE‏ @S101_Live 3m3 minutes ago

Inside one hour to launch. #AtlasV stands fully fueled atop its SLC-3E launch pad, weather is GO and countdown is on track. #NROL42

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 ULA‏Verified account @ulalaunch 32s33 seconds ago

The #AtlasV #NROL42 countdown has just entered a 30-minute hold. This is the second and final hold in today's countdown.

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 ULA‏Verified account @ulalaunch 2m2 minutes ago

Cryogenic fuels in the #AtlasV booster and Centaur upper stage are at flight level. #NROL42


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Waiting on ULA to start their webcast.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Colour check.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Webcast beginning soon.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Fuelled and ready to launch.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online Chris Bergin


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Temperature excursion witnessed...

100% go for weather.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Showing mission profile video.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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NRO payloads all look the same. :-)
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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L-15 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Prelaunch footage.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Talking about NRO and the mission patch.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Interview with ULA electrical engineer.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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L-10 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Back live.

L-8 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online Chris Bergin

Polling...
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 05:23 AM by Chris Bergin »

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Getting ready for polling.

L-7 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Green board!

L-6 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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L-5 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online Chris Bergin

Out of the BIH

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T-4 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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T-3 minutes. Hold! Hold! Hold!
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online Chris Bergin


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Resetting count down clock to T-4 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Held at T-2 minutes 29 seconds.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Countdown clock is back. Holding at T-4 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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10:49:47  PDT new target
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 05:33 AM by kevin-rf »
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

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New T-0 of 05:49:47 UTC.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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L-15 minutes. System recycle is complete.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Anyone know what the duration of the window is tonight?

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L-10 minutes. Range has approved the new T-0.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Board is green again. Go for launch!
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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L-5 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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T-4 minutes and counting.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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T-3 minutes. FTS internal.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online Chris Bergin

Got past the previous hold point.

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T-2 minutes. Securing Centaur LO2 and LH2.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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T-1 minute. Range is green.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Liftoff!
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online Chris Bergin

LAUNCH!!

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T+1 minute.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online Chris Bergin


Online Chris Bergin

There go the boosters.

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T+2 minutes. Denver is not getting telemetry.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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T+3 minutes.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Fairing jettison!
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Concluding coverage, as requested by the customer.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.


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Replay of launch and end of coverage.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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- Aaron

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Spectacular view from SoCal.  Easy to see with the solids.  I could see the solids separate and through the first stage burn.  The plume was quite spectacular toward the end of the first stage burn.

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Viewed from the coast with a scope. Nice first stage burn, watched the solids separate (and glow/tail off), saw MECO/tail off, staging, and Centaur ignition. Flawless performance - even the plumes were symmetrical, you could see the flight control as the plume shifted slightly.

Fantastic vehicle.

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Atlas V NROL-42 Live Launch Broadcast

United Launch Alliance

Rebroadcast from ULA: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvr_-_XsAY4?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

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Yeah, here's a crappy pic from my phone near the end of the first stage burn. I could see the 1st shutdown and just a second of the 2nd stage start.

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Rollout photos published by ULA

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Although this was taken by a UFO enthusiast site,  the video is good quality, just ignore the first 15-second intro of the video:

NO WAY! ATLAS V Rocket Launch Seen From Bakersfield, CA! - 09/23/2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRHs6wP5cWU?t=001



Tony De La Rosa

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Rocket Carrying Top Secret Cargo Launches From Vandenberg

CBS Los Angeles
Published on Sep 23, 2017

The mission is classified but it's believed that the payload included a highly-specialized digital camera that can take images of the entire northern hemisphere. Laurie Perez reports.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhasxiH1aQU?t=001

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Quote
Mission success! ULA's #AtlasV rocket successfully launches #NROL42 for the @NatReconOfc bit.ly/nrol52_launch

https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/911862217087340544
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 08:03 AM by FutureSpaceTourist »

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Quote
United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches NROL-42 Mission for the National Reconnaissance Office

Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., (Sept. 24, 2017) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifted off  from Space Launch Complex-3 on Sept. 23, at 10:49:47 p.m. PDT. Designated NROL-42, the mission is in support of national security.

“Congratulations to the entire team for overcoming multiple challenges throughout this launch campaign. From Hurricane Irma schedule impacts to replacing to a first stage battery this week – the team maintained a clear focus on mission success,” said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Government Satellite Launch. “NROL-42 marks the 25th ULA-launched NRO mission, building upon our legacy of partnership with the NRO in providing reliable access to space for our nation’s most critical missions.”

This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 541 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter payload fairing (PLF) and four solid rocket boosters. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C engine.

This is ULA’s sixth launch in 2017 and the 121st successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

ULA's next launch is the NROL-52 for the National Reconnaissance Office. The launch is scheduled for Oct. 5 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the legacy launch systems.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 120 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch.

http://www.ulalaunch.com/ula-successfully-launches-nrol42.aspx

Offline catdlr

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United Launch Alliance Atlas V Launch

30th Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB
Published on Sep 24, 2017


Team Vandenberg launched a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a National Reconnaissance Office payload from Space Launch Complex-3 on Sept. 23, 2017. The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base manages the safety and launch operations from the Western Range.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx4sthPTiZI?t=001

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Atlas V NROL-42 Launch Highlights

United Launch Alliance
Published on Sep 24, 2017


A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifts off from Space Launch Complex-3. Designated NROL-42, the mission is in support of national security.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWmEjmDhGqA?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

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Online Chris Bergin

ULA photos:


Offline satwatcher

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NROL-42 is transmitting at the same frequency as USA-259 launched on NROL-35 with the same Atlas-V configuration, while initial doppler measurements indicate the orbit is close to Molniya, confirming NROL-42 is a Trumpet FO.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Congratulations to ULA and the NRO for the successful launch!
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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Congrats to the United Launch Alliance and the National Reconnaissance Office on yet another successful Atlas V mission.
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital-class rocket."

Offline Rocket Science

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Congrats to all the teams, well done! Thanks for the coverage NSF especially Leo and his assistant Steven! ;)
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

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Congratulations to all concerned in another successful Atlas V launch.

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ULA photos:

Hi-res versions and another ULA shot attached.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 02:12 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

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Congratulations to ULA for maintaining their unbeaten record run:

Quote
121

https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/911912592217538560

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Any more information about the hold?  I couldn't make it out clearly, but the call I heard at T-2:46 (or 18:13 into the broadcast) sounded like, "LC this is STOPS(?) OD.  Hold, hold. hold.  I say again.  LC this is OPS(?) OD.  Hold, hold, hold.  We lost commanding."

The feature article doesn't currently mention the hold.

~Kirk
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 03:54 PM by kdhilliard »

Offline hartspace

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Any more information about the hold?  I couldn't make it out clearly, but the call I heard at T-2:46 (or 18:13 into the broadcast) sounded like, "LC this is STOPS(?) OD.  Hold, hold. hold.  I say again.  LC this is OPS(?) OD.  Hold, hold, hold.  We lost commanding."

The feature article doesn't currently mention the hold.

~Kirk
It was NOPS OD.  NRO Operations Squardron (NOPS) at Colorado Springs coordinates communications with the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) stations around the world.  Presumably, they lost comm somewhere in the system that they needed for the launch.

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If I heard correctly, there was also a loss of telemetry to *somewhere* (Denver?) during the ascent, but Atlas V didn't really care and did the job anyway.

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Early in the launch, I heard Marty Malinowski, but later in the launch, up until PLF jettison, I heard Rob Gagnon. I'm kinda curious as to what is going on.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 04:21 PM by fs10inator »

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Early in the launch, I heard Marty Malinowski, but later in the launch, up until PLF jettison, I heard Rob Gagnon. I'm kinda curious as to what is going on.
They said Denver lost telemetry but Vandenberg still had it. Perhaps Marty was in Denver so they switched to someone on site?

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Some catch-up posting...
Ted Molczan posted NROL-42 pre-launch elements on Seesat-l about 24 hours before launch-time.

Then, he posted NROL-42 estimated elements while the launch was in progress.

And, thanks to Steven and Chris for the launch thread coverage!
***

9/26/17 EDIT
Next scheduled Atlas V launch from SLC-3E: InSight on May 5, 2018!
« Last Edit: 09/26/2017 06:04 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Quote
My quick research says #AtlasV passed the Soyuz-U2 this morning with 73 launches without a single failure. Congrats @torybruno & @ulalaunch!

https://twitter.com/tgmetsfan98/status/911997410435567616

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« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 09:52 PM by catdlr »
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2017-056A    42941    USA 278

Offline Jim

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Rollout photos published by ULA

Roll back.  The rocket doesn't move, the tower rolls back

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Offline zubenelgenubi

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RE: Apparent long service lives of Trumpet and the following models of Molniya-orbit SIGINT satellites...

From Signals intelligence gatherer successfully launched by powerful Atlas 5 rocket:
Quote
“U.S. signals intelligence satellites have demonstrated long service lives. Recent observations by my colleagues Peter Wakelin and Brad Young reveal that all six previously launched Trumpets continue to maintain operational orbits. They consist of the first generation satellites launched in 1994, 1995 and 1997, and the follow-on satellites launched in 2006, 2008 and 2014,” said respected satellite observer Ted Molczan.

“Whether NROL-42 is intended to grow the fleet, or replace one of the older members remains to be seen.”

Fly the satellite that your father (or mother) flew!
« Last Edit: 09/25/2017 06:00 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Quote
USA 278, 2017-056A, 42941 launched by #NROL42 Doppler curve summary 6 days after launch.

https://twitter.com/coastal8049/status/914012538584498177

Offline jcm

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I hadn't spotted this before or seen discussion about it: the Enhanced Polar System USAF comms package EPS-2
probably flew on this mission

https://govtribe.com/project/sources-sought-recapitalization-of-enhanced-polar-system-eps-satellite-communications-system

(text attached)
Quote
SMC plans to purchase two additional EPS EHF XDR payloads to prevent a MILSATCOM
mission gap in the Polar region. SMC is pursuing a near-term hosted payload
option to be launched in Calendar Year (CY) 2022 to satisfy EPS mission
requirements...

Global protected SATCOM will be provided in the near-term by two complementary 
space systems. The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system currently 
provides protected SATCOM services for both tactical and strategic users in
mid-latitude regions (65°S to 65°N). The EPS will soon provide protected SATCOM
for a small number of tactical users in the North Polar Region (65°N to 90°N).ng
Both AEHF and EPS provide protected SATCOM employing XDR payloads utilizing the
EHF band.

EPS payloads are currently hosted on another organization's space vehicle. EPS-1
is currently on orbit and EPS-2 will be available for testing in late CY17. The
EPS ground segments includes a payload control and mission planning element
located at Schriever AFB and a Northern Tier SATCOM Gateway located at Clear AFS,
which provides DoD Information Network (DoDIN) connectivity via the Camp Roberts
Teleport.



I think we may conclude that EPS-1 was on NROL-35 and EPS-2 on NROL-42.
We know the IPS (Interim Polar System) flew on earlier TRUMPET type missions
-----------------------------

Jonathan McDowell
http://planet4589.org

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