Atlas V assembled to launch GOES-T

Atlas V 541 rocket Assembly

United Launch Alliance (ULA) technicians have assembled the Atlas V 541 rocket to launch the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-T spacecraft.

Assembly of the rocket, designated AV-095, began on Jan. 31, 2022, The 107-foot (33-meter) long first stage was delivered to the VIF, hoisted upright, and positioned aboard the Mobile Launch Platform pedestals.

The following days, Feb. 1-4, featured the attachment of four GEM 63 solid-propellant motors to the first stage. The boosters will provide nearly two-thirds of the total thrust at launch to power the Atlas V on its journey to orbit.

The pre-assembled structure featuring the interstage, the Centaur upper stage sporting its RL10C-1 engine, and the lower halves of the payload fairing were raised atop the rocket on Feb. 7 to complete the initial buildup of the launch vehicle.

The Centaur upper stage booster are the engines used to augment stage I thrust. The Centaur upper stage is powered by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, which provides the remaining energy necessary to send the spacecraft on its trajectory to geostationary orbit.

Graphic courtesy United Launch Alliance

Testing of rocket systems will be completed over the coming days, leading to the encapsulated payload arriving at the VIF for integration atop the Atlas V in mid-February.

The completed rocket will stand 196 feet (59.7 meters) tall and weigh 1,188,812 pounds (539,236 kg) once fully fueled at launch. It will lift off from Space Launch Complex-41 on 2.3 million pounds (10.44 mega-Newtons) of thrust.