A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying Solar Orbiter, an international cooperative mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), FL on Feb. 9 at 11:03 p.m. EST.
This marks the 82nd successful launch of an Atlas V rocket and 137th launch for ULA.
Solar Orbiter will work closely with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, launched by ULA on a Delta IV Heavy rocket in 2018. Together, both spacecraft will provide a never-before-seen global view of the sun.
“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.”
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. Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the one AJ-60A SRB and RL10A-4-2 engine for the Centaur upper stage. NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida selected ULA’s proven Atlas V vehicle for this mission and is responsible for management and oversight of the Atlas V launch services.
ULA’s next launch is the AEHF-6 mission for the U.S. Space Force in March 2020.