Author Topic: Atlas V 551 : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET June 2024  (Read 38378 times)

Offline zubenelgenubi

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What is the payload aboard USSF-51?  Please note Atlas V version is not yet revealed: how many solid rocket boosters.  But it should be a "5xx," as SBIRS-GEO 6 and JPSS-2 are to have the last 4 meter diameter Atlas V Centaur payload fairings.

Can we exclude the possibility of "5x2"--Centaur with 2 RL10 engines?  All of them are N22 for Starliner, yes?

I'm missing a reference to when and how we learned that the launch would be east coast = SLC-41. The US launch schedule thread adds this on June 11, 2021.

Do we know this by deduction, as Vandenberg SLC-3E would have not been ready for a Vulcan launch in Q1 2022, when the awards were made in August 2020?

I don't know the source for a Q4 2022 launch.  The "date" from the US launch schedule thread is 13 months old.  Still true?

NextSpaceFlight shows NET December 2022. Given the potential competition for December 2022 launch slots at SLC-41, I strongly suspect launch will not be this year?  Unless somehow the NRO has a ready payload in October or November?



FY Q2 2022 = CY Q1 2022 (Federal Government Fiscal Year, Chronological Year)
https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2305576/space-force-awards-national-security-space-launch-phase-2-launch-service-contra/ [August 7, 2020]

Concurrent with this announcement, the SMC Launch Enterprise, in collaboration with the NRO, will order the first three missions assigned under Phase 2. ULA has been assigned USSF-51 and USSF-106 scheduled for launch in the second quarter fiscal year 2022 and fourth quarter fiscal year 2022, respectively. SpaceX has been assigned USSF-67, scheduled for launch in fourth quarter fiscal year 2022. Future launch services will be placed on subsequent Task Orders by mission and will be publicly announced upon issuance. Task orders for the launch service support and launch service contracts will be issued to ULA for $337 million and SpaceX for $316 million for launch services to meet fiscal year 2022 launch dates.

Atlas V or Vulcan available, preferably aboard Vulcan:
https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/08/07/ula-spacex-win-landmark-launch-agreements-with-pentagon/ [August 7, 2020]
Quote
The Pentagon also announced Friday the first three firm-fixed-price launch contracts awarded by the U.S. Space Force under the NSSL program’s Phase 2 agreements.

Two of those missions, designated USSF-51 and USSF-106, were awarded to ULA for launches in the the first quarter and third quarter of calendar year 2022. SpaceX won a task order to launch the USSF-67 mission in the third quarter of calendar year 2022.

ULA received $337 million in the task orders announced Friday, while SpaceX was awarded $316 million.

If ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket, which scheduled to debut in 2021, is not certified for the national security missions in 2022, ULA could offer an Atlas 5 rocket — with its Russian-made engine — as an alternative for the USSF-51 and USSF-106 missions.

Atlas V option chosen due to Vulcan delays:
https://spacenews.com/with-ulas-new-rocket-vulcan-behind-schedule-space-force-agrees-to-let-atlas-5-fill-in/ [May 20, 2021]
Quote
That mission, known as USSF-51, was awarded to ULA in August 2020 and is scheduled to launch in late 2022. The company had bid its newly developed Vulcan to fly that mission but the vehicle is not going to be ready on time. As a result, the Space Force agreed to allow ULA to launch USSF-51 on the company’s legacy vehicle the Atlas 5.

ULA on Aug. 7 received a $337 million contract to launch USSF-51 and USSF-106, scheduled for late 2022 and mid 2023, respectively.
...
“ULA proposed changing USSF-51 from a Vulcan Centaur to an Atlas by submitting a formal letter of request to the U.S. Space Force, and they agreed with the merits of these benefits,” said ULA. “This change allows for ULA’s first two Vulcan Centaur missions, which are for commercial customers, to launch when they are ready and not impact the Space Force’s mission.”

[Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s launch enterprise] said the Space Force launch enterprise has “assessed the launch vehicle configuration change to an Atlas 5 launch vehicle as low risk and a viable solution. The first NSSL Vulcan mission remains scheduled for early 2023.”

https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/05/23/falcon-heavys-first-national-security-launch-slips-to-october/ [May 23, 2021]
Quote
The Vulcan Centaur’s first national security launch is now scheduled for early 2023 with the USSF-106 mission, Bongiovi said Wednesday. That flight will follow two certification launches of the Vulcan Centaur rocket carrying commercial payloads.

Multiple edits
« Last Edit: 05/11/2024 01:29 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Phillipsturtles

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #1 on: 07/15/2022 09:07 pm »
What is the payload aboard USSF-51?

FY Q2 2022 = CY Q1 2022 (Federal Government Fiscal Year, Chronological Year)
https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2305576/space-force-awards-national-security-space-launch-phase-2-launch-service-contra/

Concurrent with this announcement, the SMC Launch Enterprise, in collaboration with the NRO, will order the first three missions assigned under Phase 2. ULA has been assigned USSF-51 and USSF-106 scheduled for launch in the second quarter fiscal year 2022 and fourth quarter fiscal year 2022, respectively. SpaceX has been assigned USSF-67, scheduled for launch in fourth quarter fiscal year 2022. Future launch services will be placed on subsequent Task Orders by mission and will be publicly announced upon issuance. Task orders for the launch service support and launch service contracts will be issued to ULA for $337 million and SpaceX for $316 million for launch services to meet fiscal year 2022 launch dates.

We do not know what the payload is or where it's going. All we know is that it's for the NRO along with USSF-67 and 106.

"Bruno said he was surprise by numbers because all three NRO missions are “relatively similar.”"
https://spacenews.com/tory-bruno-on-ulas-big-win-we-knew-we-were-going-to-be-competitive/ [August 11, 2020]
« Last Edit: 07/17/2022 12:15 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline Jester

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #2 on: 07/27/2022 12:49 pm »
possible 501 with OTV-7 ?

Offline Vahe231991

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #3 on: 07/27/2022 02:32 pm »
possible 501 with OTV-7 ?
Anything is possible. If the USSF-51 satellite isn't launched during the remaining months of this year aboard an Atlas V due to potential undisclosed readiness issues, then USSF-51 could be launched atop the Vulcan rocket after all as originally planned.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #4 on: 07/27/2022 02:53 pm »
possible 501 with OTV-7 ?
Anything is possible. If the USSF-51 satellite isn't launched during the remaining months of this year aboard an Atlas V due to potential undisclosed readiness issues, then USSF-51 could be launched atop the Vulcan rocket after all as originally planned.
It seems that USSF policy is to require a new launcher to fly two successful orbital launches before a USSF payload is flown. USSF-51 was originally supposed to fly on the third Vulcan flight, after Astrobotics Peregrine and Sierra Nevada's SNC Demo-1. But both of these seem to be slipping, so if USSF adheres to its policy, ULA will need to find two new payloads to fly on Vulcan before USSF-51 can fly on Vulcan, or USS-51 will need to wait even longer. Meanwhile, there is already an Atlas V allocated for this mission.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #5 on: 07/27/2022 03:52 pm »
possible 501 with OTV-7 ?
Anything is possible. If the USSF-51 satellite isn't launched during the remaining months of this year aboard an Atlas V due to potential undisclosed readiness issues, then USSF-51 could be launched atop the Vulcan rocket after all as originally planned.
It seems that USSF policy is to require a new launcher to fly two successful orbital launches before a USSF payload is flown. USSF-51 was originally supposed to fly on the third Vulcan flight, after Astrobotics Peregrine and Sierra Nevada's SNC Demo-1. But both of these seem to be slipping, so if USSF adheres to its policy, ULA will need to find two new payloads to fly on Vulcan before USSF-51 can fly on Vulcan, or USS-51 will need to wait even longer. Meanwhile, there is already an Atlas V allocated for this mission.
As suggested by me elsewhere in NSF. ULA can always ask SpaceX if they could launch some Starlink comsat stacks for them. Hmm, wonder how many Starlink comsats can be fitted in the Vulcan long payload fairing along with 6 GEM-63XL boosters on the Vulcan core. Guessing at least 60.  :)

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #6 on: 07/27/2022 05:44 pm »
possible 501 with OTV-7 ?
The two OTVs are USAF.  This is an NRO mission.

Unless, a hypothetical OTV-7 is a dedicated NRO reconnaissance mission?  Some interesting possibilities there. 🤔 👀

Example: Use OTVs generous delta-v and aerodynamic body to dip (deeper?) into the thermosphere for extremely high resolution imagery.  4 inches/10 cm?  Diffraction limited because the imagery has an extremely short exposure time (like the old astronomy dodge around seeing, speckle interferometry)?  Like GAMBIT but 21st century and much better.

Also would be awesome if both vehicles were orbiting simultaneously.
« Last Edit: 07/27/2022 06:45 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Star One

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #7 on: 07/27/2022 07:10 pm »
possible 501 with OTV-7 ?
The two OTVs are USAF.  This is an NRO mission.

Unless, a hypothetical OTV-7 is a dedicated NRO reconnaissance mission?  Some interesting possibilities there.

Example: Use OTVs generous delta-v and aerodynamic body to dip (deeper?) into the thermosphere for extremely high resolution imagery.  4 inches/10 cm?  Diffraction limited because the imagery has an extremely short exposure time (like the old astronomy dodge around seeing, speckle interferometry)?  Like GAMBIT but 21st century and much better.

Also would be awesome if both vehicles were orbiting simultaneously.
I’ve always wondered if there was any particular reason why they shouldn’t be both in orbit especially with the long mission lengths now.

Offline Jim

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #8 on: 07/27/2022 07:47 pm »

I’ve always wondered if there was any particular reason why they shouldn’t be both in orbit especially with the long mission lengths now.

no need for it

Offline Jim

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #9 on: 07/27/2022 08:03 pm »

Example: Use OTVs generous delta-v and aerodynamic body to dip (deeper?) into the thermosphere for extremely high resolution imagery.  4 inches/10 cm?  Diffraction limited because the imagery has an extremely short exposure time (like the old astronomy dodge around seeing, speckle interferometry)?  Like GAMBIT but 21st century and much better.

Also would be awesome if both vehicles were orbiting simultaneously.

How?  The payload bay is open and solar array is on an arm.
It only can only carry 500lb including attach hardware.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #10 on: 08/01/2022 06:30 pm »
Thank you, Jim, for answering.
Example: Use OTVs generous delta-v and aerodynamic body to dip (deeper?) into the thermosphere for extremely high resolution imagery.  4 inches/10 cm?  Diffraction limited because the imagery has an extremely short exposure time (like the old astronomy dodge around seeing, speckle interferometry)?  Like GAMBIT but 21st century and much better.

How?  The payload bay is open and solar array is on an arm.
It only can only carry 500lb including attach hardware.
Pardon me if this was answered earlier, but is the solar array a one-time deploy mechanism?

Could it be stowed or moved into a slipstream attitude with respect to the spacecraft for an altitude dip?

I am not hypothesizing an altitude dip to the extent that payload bay doors would be damaged.

As for a hypothetical "fun-size" camera in the payload bay, the aperture would face out of the bay with a diagonal mirror to reflect light into the camera optical path.  The optical arrangement would be similar to GAMBIT.

And I'm thinking exposure times substantially shorter than spacecraft motions that would blur the images.

(Fun-size meaning the smaller candy bars 🍫 that we give to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.) 🎃
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Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #11 on: 08/01/2022 06:56 pm »
There appears to be a launch opportunity at SLC-41 this autumn.  We'll see if USSF-51 can take advantage of it.

Eastern Range SLC-41:
2022
August 4        SBIRS GEO-6
NET Sept 15  SES-20 & 21
"October" launch opportunity
"November" launch opportunity
December     Peregrine
Q4                  USSF-51
2023
Early 2023 December 8  CFT
late March    ViaSat-3 EMEA

Edited
« Last Edit: 08/04/2022 05:23 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Vahe231991

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #12 on: 08/04/2022 02:52 pm »
There appears to be a launch opportunity at SLC-41 this autumn.  We'll see if USSF-51 can take advantage of it.

Eastern Range SLC-41:
2022
August 4        SBIRS GEO-6
NET Sept 15  SES-20 & 21
"October" launch opportunity
"November" launch opportunity
December 8  CFT
December     Peregrine
Q4                  USSF-51
2023
late March    ViaSat-3 EMEA
The SBIRS GEO-6 satellite was launched today, so the USSF-51 will be the last US Space Force payload to be launched aboard the Atlas V (the SILENTBARKER will be the last NRO payload to be launched from the Atlas V).

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #13 on: 10/06/2022 10:43 am »
Belated cross-post:
https://nextspaceflight.com/launches/details/5055
Quote
USSF-51
Launch Time
NET December, 2022

Launcher was switched from Vulcan Centaur to Atlas V at ULA’s request. Atlas V config is currently TBD.
...
Rocket
Atlas V 551

Eastern Range SLC-41:
2022
NET December  USSF-51

2023
Early                   CFT
H1                      Peregrine
TBD                   ViaSat-3 EMEA
« Last Edit: 10/10/2022 10:33 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #14 on: 10/10/2022 10:37 pm »
Delayed into 2023?  Not listed before CFT.
https://www.launchphotography.com/Launch_Viewing_Guide.html
Quote
ATLAS V & VULCAN

Upcoming Atlas V launches include the first crewed flight of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft to the space station in February TBD. Vulcan will use the same launch pad when it flies. [October 8 update]
« Last Edit: 10/10/2022 10:38 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Jim

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #15 on: 10/24/2022 07:30 pm »
Delayed into 2023?  Not listed before CFT.
https://www.launchphotography.com/Launch_Viewing_Guide.html
Quote
ATLAS V & VULCAN

Upcoming Atlas V launches include the first crewed flight of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft to the space station in February TBD. Vulcan will use the same launch pad when it flies. [October 8 update]
The USSF-51 is officially described as a classified payload, like the two satellites that will be launched aboard the last two Delta IV Heavy launches. The Atlas V will also launch the NROL-107 satellite from SLC-41, but this launch is not listed before the Starliner CFT either.

and your point is?

Offline Vahe231991

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #16 on: 10/24/2022 08:22 pm »
Delayed into 2023?  Not listed before CFT.
https://www.launchphotography.com/Launch_Viewing_Guide.html
Quote
ATLAS V & VULCAN

Upcoming Atlas V launches include the first crewed flight of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft to the space station in February TBD. Vulcan will use the same launch pad when it flies. [October 8 update]
The USSF-51 is officially described as a classified payload, like the two satellites that will be launched aboard the last two Delta IV Heavy launches. The Atlas V will also launch the NROL-107 satellite from SLC-41, but this launch is not listed before the Starliner CFT either.

and your point is?
The Launch Viewing Guide website doesn't mention the USSF-51, which is why someone speculated that USSF-51 may be delayed to next year.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #17 on: 10/24/2022 08:56 pm »
Delayed into 2023?  Not listed before CFT.
https://www.launchphotography.com/Launch_Viewing_Guide.html
Quote
ATLAS V & VULCAN

Upcoming Atlas V launches include the first crewed flight of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft to the space station in February TBD. Vulcan will use the same launch pad when it flies. [October 8 update]
The USSF-51 is officially described as a classified payload, like the two satellites that will be launched aboard the last two Delta IV Heavy launches. The Atlas V will also launch the NROL-107 satellite from SLC-41, but this launch is not listed before the Starliner CFT either.

and your point is?
The Launch Viewing Guide website doesn't mention the USSF-51, which is why someone speculated that USSF-51 may be delayed to next year.

Moderator:
Jim was replying to your post, Vahe, not mine.

Your reply, Vahe, didn't answer my question.  As a reply, it was off-topic.

Your reply could instead have been a no-new-information-provided post in this thread.

If no one currently has an answer to my launch scheduling question, then let's move on.
« Last Edit: 10/24/2022 08:57 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline ZachS09

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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #18 on: 10/25/2022 12:57 am »
Eventually, there’ll be an official announcement for USSF-51. Just not at the moment.
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Re: Atlas V : USSF-51 : CCSFS SLC-41 : NET Q3 2023
« Reply #19 on: 10/28/2022 05:20 pm »
Out of interest, who says this is a 551 config ? and not for example a 501 ?

 

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