Atlas V STP-3 mission delayed
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with the Space Force’s STP-3 mission has been delayed, according to a release by the launch provider.
On June 4, 2021, ULA released an update on the Space Test Program-3 mission and the company’s Atlas V 551 rocket. Previously set for launch on June 23, 2021, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, this mission is now delayed to evaluate the vehicle’s launch readiness.
According to ULA CEO Tory Bruno, the reason for the delay stems from the previous Atlas V launch and its Centaur upper stage’s RL10 engine.
“Those watching the live feed, may have observed some ringing of RL10s’s new carbon nozzle extension,” Bruno tweeted, referring to the excessive vibrations in the upper stage’s engine. “While it did its job, boosting RL10’s eye watering performance even a bit higher, we want to make sure we fully understand that behavior before flying this configuration again.”
The Aerojet Rocketdyne-built RL10C engine's bell nozzle is visibly vibrating as the upper stage continues on pic.twitter.com/NF6CrrilLm
— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) May 18, 2021
United Launch Alliance is working with the Space Force to determine the next availability for this rideshare mission launching the STPSat 6 spacecraft, various payloads and scientific experiments including the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System-3 payload, and NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration experiment.
The Atlas V for this mission is set to fly in the 551 configuration with five solid rocket boosters, a single Centaur upper stage with a five meter fairing once launched.
This launch will also expected to be the first to use a Vulcan-like payload shroud made in the United States instead of Switzerland.
Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.