United Launch Alliance (ULA) has launched the Atlas V rocket, transporting the Solar Orbiter, from Space Launch Complex-41 on Feb. 9 at 11:03 p.m. EST, the company announced on Monday.
"The ULA team is extremely honored to launch Solar Orbiter, enabling more discovery of our sun," said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. "Thank you to our NASA and international mission partners for the outstanding teamwork."
The Solar Orbiter international cooperative mission, comprised of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, will continue to support NASA's Parker Solar Probe, launched by ULA on a Delta IV Heavy rocket in 2018. With the progress of the mission, both spacecrafts will provide a new, global view of the sun.
Solar Orbiter launched on an Atlas V 411 configuration vehicle including a 4-meter payload fairing (PLF) and standing 189 ft. tall. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine.
As a part of NASA's Launch Services Program, the Atlas V 411 launched at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Program selected ULA's proven Atlas V vehicle for the mission and maintains responsibility for the supervision of the Atlas V launch services.
ULA announced the final launch preparations for the Atlas V 411 on Feb. 7th 2019. The company’s successful launch marks ULA’s 82nd successful launch of an Atlas V rocket and 137th launch. ULA's next launch is the AEHF-6 mission for the U.S. Space Force in March 2020.
"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."
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.