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ULA Prepares Atlas V Rocket for NASA’s Solar Orbiter Mission Launch; Gary Wentz Quoted

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United Launch Alliance (ULA) has finalized preparations for the Atlas V rocket to launch the Solar Orbiter mission, an international cooperative mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, on Feb. 9 2020 from  Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, ULA announced on Friday.

“We are proud to launch Solar Orbiter in support of our NASA and international mission partners,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “This exciting mission will allow us to further explore our universe and understand the intricacies of the sun.”

The completed Atlas V 411 rocket will include one solid rocket booster, which will provide precise, optimal performance enabling the rocket to deliver a range of mission types. Atlas V 411 has completed five flights, including NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission.

ULA has designed the Atlas V 411 withstand the departure from Earth and its trajectory, which will include repeated close encounters to the sun, including a 4-meter large payload fairing (PLF) and stands 189 ft. tall. The Atlas booster will be powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine. The configuration first launched on April 20, 2006.

NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida selected ULA. The agency will be responsible for management and oversight of the Atlas V launch services.

Launch is planned for 11:03 p.m. EST at the opening of a two-hour launch window. The live launch broadcast begins at 10:30 p.m. EST on NASA TV.

About ULA

ULA is harnessing the potential of space for humanity. We are dreamers inspired by possibilities not yet imagined, believers driven to broaden horizons, and doers combining technology, innovation, expertise, ingenuity and a commitment to the extraordinary.

The technologies we enable protect our country and troops in the battlefield, enable search and rescue, provide a backbone for business and connect families across the globe. They help us explore our city and learn about our solar system and places beyond.