Feel the Thunder: Fifth Time’s a Charm

An Atlas V launches into the sky at Cape Canaveral in the Sunday morning darkness. (Photo: United Launch Alliance, LLC)

They say “the third time’s a charm,” but sometimes it’s the fifth time.

After three previous scrubs due to weather and one to work a vehicle issue, this time did seem charmed with virtually no issues during the countdown and a very clean flight and successful orbit insertion.

The Atlas V, flying in the 421 configuration with a four-meter fairing, two solid rocket motors, and one engine in the Centaur upper stage, thundered off Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 41 at 3:28 a.m. Sunday Eastern time. It carried a national security payload.

The early Sunday launch marked United Launch Alliance’s seventh launch of 2017, the 74th of the Atlas V rocket, and the seventh in the 421 configuration.

Randy Kendall is Aerospace vice president of Launch Program Operations.