United Launch Alliance rocket successfully lifts off in California carrying CU-Boulder payload

By: Steve Friday September 14, 2012 0 comments Tags: Atlas V, CU-Boulder, CubeSats, JimSponnick, NASA

United Launch Alliance logo
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3 in California on Thursday in a mission in support of national defense, according to ULA.

"Today's successful launch of the NROL-36 mission occurred on the same day as the national memorial service honoring American hero Neil Armstrong," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president of Mission Operations.

"The scientists and engineers developing and operating these remarkable current-day launch and spacecraft systems reflect Neil's incredible legacy to mankind."

Sponnick said the launch marked the fourth and final EELV mission for NRO's Road to Launch 2012 accomplished over the last five months.

Other launches occurred on April 3, June 20 and June 29 in California and Florida.

In addition to the NROL-36 payload, 11 CubeSats took advantage of available volume and structural capacity aboard the Atlas V for a ride share.

The CubeSats were developed by the Space and Missile Defense Command, The Aerospace Corp., University of Colorado, Lawrence Livermore National Lab and several other universities.

"These auxiliary payloads are the first of their kind for an Atlas V mission," Sponnick said. "We are pleased we could support the NRO, NASA, and all the associated institutions to deliver these important CubeSats, which will study space weather and communications, debris mitigation, maritime shipping container tracking as well as space flight safety and orbit refinement."

ULA's next launch is set for Oct. 4 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

ULA is headquartered in Denver with manufacturing, assembly and integration operations in Decatur, Ala. and Harlingen, Texas.

For more information, visit www.ulalaunch.com.


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