An Invitation to View the Atlas V Silentbarker Rocket Launch Up Close

Artwork credit: United Launch Alliance

SimpleQuE Representatives to View the Atlas V Silentbarker Rocket Launch

National Space Club Florida Committee (NSCFC) and Brig. Gen. Kristen Panzenhagen, Space Launch Delta 45 Commander, have invited simpleQuE’s Jim Lee and Shirley Kennedy to view the Atlas V Silentbarker rocket launch up close on August 29, 2023. The launch window is from 8:32-9:34 AM from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41. Along with a select number of other NSCFC members, Jim and Shirley will be watching from the CCSFS Space Launch Delta 45 VIP Viewing Site (on the connecting Causeway at Cape Canaveral and NASA and only about 4 miles from Launch Complex 41).

UPDATE 8/29/23:  

“Out of an abundance of caution for personnel safety, a critical national security payload and the approaching Tropical Storm Idalia, the team made the decision to return the rocket and payload to the vertical integration facility (VIF),” ULA said in a statement. “We will work with our customer and the range to confirm our next launch attempt and a new date will be provided once it is safe to launch.”

ULA Atlas V Silentbarker on Launch Complex 41. Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

For a little background, the Space Launch Delta 45 (SLD 45) is a unit of the United States Space Force and is headquartered at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida. The wing also controls Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS). The 45th Space Delta is responsible for all space launch operations from the East Coast. It manages all 15 million square miles of the Eastern Range, including launch activities for the Space Force, Department of Defense (DoD), NASA, and other private space corporations.

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 551 rocket is launching the SILENTBARKER/NROL-107 mission, a joint National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and U.S. Space Force (USSF) capability to improve space domain awareness. 

Interesting Facts: 

The Atlas V rocket has completed 97 launches to date, and is commonly used for interplanetary missions, military payloads and cargo runs to the International Space Station.  The rocket for this mission is 196 ft. in height and launch begins with engine ignition and liftoff from the pad. The RD-180 engine delivers 860,200 lbs of thrust and the five solid rocket boosters each provide an additional 371,550 lbs of power. This is most powerful configuration in ULA’s fleet. The rocket will then begin its Pitch/Yaw Maneuver and at 35 seconds reach Mach 1 speed.  At approximately 1 minutes 45 seconds into the flight the 5 solid rocket boosters will be jettisoned and after 3 minutes the payload fairing is jettisoned as the payload reaches orbit about 24,000 miles above Earth.  See more in this ULA simulation video.

Mission Overview:

The Silentbarker/NROL107 mission meets the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community (IC) space protection needs by providing the capability to search, detect and track objects from a space-based sensor. Surveillance from this satellite constellation network will provide timely 24-hour collection of satellite metric data, only possible with a space-based sensor and then communicate its findings to satellite operators, analysts, and other mission users.  Silentbarker/NROL107 will strengthen the NRO’s ability to provide a wide range of timely intelligence information to national decision makers, war fighters and intelligence analysts to protect the nation’s vital interests and support humanitarian efforts worldwide.

About NSCFC: 

The National Space Club Florida Committee empowers members to soar to new heights through education, information sharing, and networking opportunities. Members are invited to events where they can meet people with similar interests and various positions throughout the aerospace industry on the Space Coast. The monthly luncheons feature guest speakers representing leaders in the aerospace industry, in its mission to increase public awareness of America’s aerospace programs.  Government and commercial space flight enthusiasts and those employed in the industry join this committee to discover new friendships, knowledge, and experiences with others who share a passion for space.

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