A First for the Atlas V

Rob Langley, left, and Rick Ort, observe the arrival of the boattail section of the Atlas V payload fairing at the Vertical Integration Facility. The boattail sits on top of the Centaur upper stage.

The upcoming Atlas V launch scheduled for June 18 from Cape Canaveral will mark the first time an Atlas V rocket has flown without a wet dress rehearsal.

The term “wet” dress rehearsal refers to the fact that the rocket is actually loaded with liquid fuel as part of a run-through of launch procedures.

The hotly debated decision to eliminate the WDR for the Atlas V 401-configured launch vehicle — one with a four-meter payload fairing, no strap-on solid rocket motors, and a single engine in the Centaur upper stage — will save five days on the launch preparation schedule and about $500,000 in costs.