United Launch Alliance / U.S. Space Force Atlas V USSF-8 Launch

I have cued the replay video to start one minute before launch. This is the first and only planned launch for the Atlas V 511 configuration, with the large 5 metre payload fairing and just one solid rocket booster. At the 12:27 point in the video, prior to the launch, United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno explains how this seemingly odd configuration works.

The entire mission, which will deliver two satellites directly to geostationary orbit, will last more than six hours and involve three burns of the Centaur upper stage. This video covers the mission only through the end of the first Centaur burn, placing the vehicle in its initial parking orbit.


United Launch Alliance (ULA) reports, β€œUnited Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Critical Space Surveillance Mission for U.S. Space Force”.

β€œThe USSF-8 mission was successfully delivered to near-geosynchronous orbit after a nearly 7-hour mission,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. β€œWe want to thank the U.S. Space Force and our mission partners for their teamwork for the successful launch and delivery to orbit.”

ULA is the only launch provider currently offering direct delivery of satellites to geosynchronous orbit. This allows satellites to avoid the weight and fuel penalty of an apogee kick motor to circularise their orbits and adjust inclination, preserving fuel for station keeping and a longer operational life. The high energy liquid hydrogen/oxygen Centaur upper stage with multiple restart capability enables this delivery mode.

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