Mighty Atlas V goes vertical

Space Coast, FL – On September 11, 2020, ULA had welcomed you to Cape Canaveral’s Vertical Integration Facility. This was the start of another Atlas V launch campaign. The Atlas V prepares for the NROL-101 mission. First step is lifting the first stage aboard the Mobile Launch Platform.

Atlas V prepares to be vertical | photo: ULA

The activities at Cape Canaveral are known collectively as the Launch Vehicle on Stand (LVOS) milestone for NROL-101. Technicians have released the Atlas V first stage from the transportation equipment. This is in preparation for rotating the 107-foot-long booster upright.

Atlas V is carefully lifted into the VIF (Vertical Integration Facility) at SLC-41 | photo: ULA

United Launch Alliance is using an Atlas V 531 rocket that generates nearly two million pounds of thrust. The two-stage rocket will include a 5-meter diameter payload fairing, 3 solid-fuel boosters and 1 engine on our high-performance Centaur.

Atlas V is hoisted by crane and with safety tag line for guidance | photo: ULA

The NROL-101 launch will ULA’s 30th mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. Nearly two-thirds of their missions to date have launched U.S. national security payloads for US Space Force and the National Reconnaissance Office.

The mighty Atlas V is placed in the VIF | photo: ULA

In the coming days, three Northrop Grumman GEM-63 solid rocket boosters and the Centaur upper stage will be hoisted into the VIF. This is for continued stacking operations. The launch is planned for later this year.

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Jon Van Horne
Jon Van Horne

He began his career in media as a multimedia designer and developer in Montreal, Quebec. He developed a passion for media during his job in Photography and Video at a Montreal media content company. Other passions in media, photography/videography and soon going back to school in engineering.