Author Topic: After Idalia delay, ULA is set for an Atlas V launch on Saturday  (Read 360 times)

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After Idalia delay, ULA is set for an Atlas V launch on Saturday
« on: September 07, 2023, 11:40:11 pm »
Orlando Sentinel by RICHARD TRIBOU 9/7/2023

United Launch Alliance has only launched one rocket in 2023 and Hurricane Idalia put a hold on what it planned to be No. 2.

Plans are back now, though, for an 8:51 a.m. liftoff on Saturday of an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 on the joint SILENTBARKER/NROL-107 mission for National Reconnaissance Office and Space Force.

Space Launch Delta 45’s weather squadron forecasts 85% chance for good conditions, and same in the event of a 24-hour delay.

SILENTBARKER’s classified mission, which includes multiple payloads, has a primary goal of placing watchdog satellites in geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) “so that we can understand the intentions of other countries to see what they’re doing in the GEO belts and see if there’s any indications of threats or if it’s just normal operations,” said Chris Scolese, director of the NRO on a media call last week. “That capability will just allow us to have increased understanding of what’s going on there.”

Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, commander of the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command, said the goal of Space Force when it was created in 2019 was to get a handle on a more congested and contested space environment. This is the first of two or more missions to deliver multiple payloads as part of that watchdog role in national security.

“The capability that we’re going to launch [Saturday] goes a long way toward giving us the competitive endurance, competitive advantage in space to make sure we can not only see, but maintain custody of the threats in GEO,” he said.