Launch window is open from 1:15 p.m. ET - 4:15 p.m. ET
ABOVE VIDEO: A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 511 rocket will launch USSF-8 mission for the U.S. Space Force. Liftoff will occur from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.
BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – The Atlas V rocket will launch the United States Space Force (SSF)-8 mission featuring two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) spacecraft for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command Friday, Jan. 21 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Launch window is open from 1:15 p.m. ET – 4:15 p.m. ET.
The launch will mark the 75th Atlas V flight to originate from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
The Launch Readiness Review, led by ULA Launch Director Eric Richards, was completed this morning at the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center and virtually via teleconferencing.
Leadership from ULA and the Space Force assessed the readiness of the rocket, payload, and mission assets, discussed the status of pre-flight processing work, heard technical overviews of the countdown and flight, and previewed the weather forecast that has a 60 percent chance of meeting the launch rules.
At the conclusion of the meeting, senior leaders were polled and gave a ready status for launch, then signed the Launch Readiness Certificate.
The Atlas V 511 rocket, designated AV-084, stands 196 feet (59.7 meters) tall and will weigh 858,115 pounds (389,234 kg) when fully fueled at liftoff with its payload consisting of twin Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites.
The GSSAP spacecraft, built by Northrop Grumman, improve our ability to rapidly detect, warn, characterize, and attribute disturbances to space systems in the geosynchronous environment, and enable spaceflight safety to assist in avoiding satellite collisions.
From their vantage point, the GSSAP satellites have clear and unobstructed viewing of objects in space without the interruption from weather or the atmospheric distortion that can limit ground-based observations. This allows for more accurate tracking and characterization of human-made orbiting objects.
GSSAP supports U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network sensor. The GSSAP spacecraft also have the capability to perform Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO). RPO allows for the space vehicle to maneuver near a resident space object of interest, enabling characterization for anomaly resolution and enhanced surveillance, while maintaining flight safety.
ULA will offer live reports from the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center in our automatically-refreshing blog during the Atlas V’s rollout to the launch pad on Thursday, plus provide comprehensive coverage Friday of the countdown and flight to geosynchronous orbit.
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