October 22, 2018

Photos: Ground crews roll 75th Atlas 5 rocket to its launch pad


If you would like to see more articles like this please support our coverage of the space program by becoming a Spaceflight Now Member. If everyone who enjoys our website helps fund it, we can expand and improve our coverage further.

The 75th Atlas 5 rocket rolled to its launch pad at Cape Canaveral on Wednesday, a day before it was scheduled to lift off with a U.S. Air Force satellite to provide warnings of missile launches that might threaten U.S. territories and allies.

The 189-foot-tall United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket rode a mobile launch platform for the 1,800-foot trip from its Vertical Integration Facility to Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad Wednesday. The trip along rail tracks took a little over a half-hour to complete.

Liftoff is scheduled for a 40-minute window opening at 7:52 p.m. EST Thursday (0052 GMT Friday).

The mission will loft the Air Force’s fourth Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, satellite bound for geosynchronous orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator. From that position, the SBIRS GEO Flight 4 spacecraft will detect and track missile launches, alerting the military of threats that might be heading toward the United States or its allies.

The SBIRS GEO Flight 4 spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin, will join three similar satellites launched on Atlas 5 missions in 2011, 2013 and 2017.

Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA/Jeff Spotts
Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA/Jeff Spotts
Credit: ULA/Jeff Spotts
Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA
Credit: ULA

Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


If you would like to see more articles like this please support our coverage of the space program by becoming a Spaceflight Now Member. If everyone who enjoys our website helps fund it, we can expand and improve our coverage further.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!