Spaceflight Now Home


Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed direct to your desktop.

Enter your e-mail address:

Privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose.

Atlas/PAN launch timeline

T-0:00:02.7 Engine Start
The Russian-designed RD-180 main engine is ignited and undergoes checkout prior to launch.
T+0:00:01.1 Liftoff
The Atlas 5 vehicle, designated AV-018, lifts off and begins a vertical rise away from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
T+0:04:03 Main Engine Cutoff
The RD-180 main engine completes its firing after consuming its kerosene and liquid oxygen fuel supply in the Atlas first stage.
T+0:04:09 Stage Separation
The Common Core Booster first stage of the Atlas 5 rocket separates from the Centaur upper stage. Over the next few seconds, the Centaur engine liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen systems are readied for ignition.
T+0:04:19 Centaur Ignition 1
The Centaur RL10 engine ignites for the longer of the today's two upper stage firings. This burn will inject the Centaur stage and spacecraft into a parking orbit.
T+0:04:27 Nose Cone Jettison
The payload fairing that protected the PAN spacecraft during launch is separated once heating levels drop to predetermined limits.
T+0:17:27 Centaur Cutoff 1
The Centaur engine shuts down after arriving in a planned parking orbit. The vehicle enters a lengthy coast period before arriving at the required location in space for the second burn.
T+1:55:10 Centaur Ignition 2
The Centaur re-ignites to accelerate the payload out of the temporary parking orbit achieved earlier in the launch sequence.
T+1:56:36 Centaur Cutoff 2
At the conclusion of its second firing, the Centaur will have propelled the PAN spacecraft into the planned launch deployment orbit. The exact parameters have not been announced.
T+1:59:25 PAN Separation
The secretive PAN communications satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. government is released from the Centaur upper stage to complete the launch.

Data source: United Launch Alliance.