Atlas V Lifts National Security Payload and AeroCube-7

An Atlas V lifts off from SLC-3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying a national security payload on Oct. 8. (Photo: United Launch Alliance, LLC)

In the early morning darkness, an Atlas V rocket lifted off from SLC-3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying a national security satellite. The mission, which launched at 5:49 a.m. Oct. 8, also successfully deployed 13 CubeSats, including Aerospace’s AeroCube-7, the Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration mission for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

It was a very smooth countdown, followed by a nominal flight and another extremely accurate spacecraft insertion to the intended orbit, according to Randy Kendall, vice president of Space Launch Operations. However, the smooth countdown belied the amount of activity that took place in the days leading up to the launch.

“This team continues to amaze me with their dedication to the launch mission,” Kendall said. “Last week they were simultaneously working close-out of issues from the post-flight review from the Atlas V MUOS-4 launch last month, the post-flight crossover assessment for the Atlas V Morelos launch last week, preparing for this launch, and conducted the Aerospace Readiness Review for the upcoming Atlas V GPS IIF-11 launch scheduled for the 30th of October.”

He congratulated the team on this latest success:

“My thanks to the entire launch team and congratulations to the customer on another critical national security asset successfully delivered to orbit.”