Spaceflight Now: Atlas launch report
Photo Gallery:
Atlas 2A launches DSCS B8

Posted: January 21, 2000

Lockheed Martin successfully launched the U.S. Air Force's DSCS B8 communications satellite on January 21 from Cape Canaveral Air Station. Source: Lockheed Martin. Image copyright: Spaceflight Now.

Waiting to fly
The mobile service tower rolls away from the Lockheed Martin Atlas 2A rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Station's pad 36A in the final hours before liftoff.
Shark on the nose
A shark's face is painted on the rocket's payload fairing, a tradition for U.S. Air Force launches from Cape Canaveral Air Station.
Fueled and waiting
Vapors stream from the Atlas rocket and its Centaur upper stage. During the countdown, super-cold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen was loaded aboard the rocket.
The three liquid-fueled engines at the Atlas rocket rumble to life moments before launch at pad 36A.
First of millennium
The Lockheed Martin Atlas 2A rocket lifts off, becoming the first space launch of the new millennium.
Rolling on course
Under control of its onboard guidance system, the Atlas rocket completes a roll maneuver to the proper launch trajectory.
Riding on 3 engines
The two booster and one sustainer engines power the Atlas rocket skyward during the first minutes of launch.
3 engines
Like a comet
The Atlas rocket streaks through the nighttime sky following liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Station.
Engines away
The booster package, the bottom structure of the Atlas rocket with two MA-5A engines, is jettisoned in a bright flash of light.
Pack jettison
In the moonlight
Illuminated by a bright moon, the Atlas rocket's booster package falls toward the Atlantic Ocean below.
Flight data file
Vehicle: Atlas 2A
Payload: DSCS B8
Launch date: Jan. 21, 2000
Launch window: 0015-0139 GMT (7:15-8:39 p.m. EST on 20th)
Launch site: SLC-36A, Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla.

Video vault
The Lockheed Martin Atlas 2A rocket launches with DSCS B8 from the Cape.
  PLAY (691k QuickTime file)

Animation of the DSCS satellite's early operations once in space.
  PLAY (183k QuickTime file)

Watch the sequence of events as the Atlas 2A rocket carries the U.S. Air Force's DSCS B8 satellite into orbit.
  PLAY (793k QuickTime file)

Pre-launch briefing
Atlas vehicle data - Overview of the rocket that will launch DSCS B8 into space.

Launch timeline - Chart with times and descriptions of events to occur during the launch.

Launch windows - Available windows for future launch dates of AC-138.

DSCS B8 - Overview of the U.S. Air Force DSCS satellite program.

Atlas index - Listing of our previous Atlas coverage.

Explore the Net
International Launch Services - Lockheed Martin-led consortium which globally markets the U.S. Atlas and Russian Proton rockets.

Lockheed Martin Astronautics - U.S. company which builds and launches the Atlas family of rockets.

Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space - U.S. company that builds the DSCS satellites.

U.S. Air Force - Home page of the U.S. Air Force, which oversees the launch and DSCS fleet.

3rd SLS - U.S. Air Force Space Launch Squadron responsible for the Atlas at Cape Canaveral.

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