- Press Release
- Feb 4, 2023
Lockheed Martin’s First Atlas V Rocket Stacked Vertically, Capping Period Of Highly Successful Milestones On The Way to First Launch
Martin’s Atlas V rocket team has successfully performed the first
"booster on stand" (BOS) operation with the first flight vehicle,
designated AV-001. The successful BOS operation involved assembling
the rocket’s booster stage, Centaur upper stage and connecting
segments in the new vertical integration facility (VIF). This caps a
period of sustained test and validation activity associated with the
vehicle and the ground infrastructure at Launch Complex 41.
The Atlas V team also achieved another important milestone recently
with the successful completion of the RD180 heavy lift vehicle
certification program. The total test program for the RD180, the
Russian-built rocket engine that powers both the Atlas III and V
rockets, now includes over 27,500 seconds of test firing time,
equivalent to the duration of more than 130 nominal Atlas V missions.
"The first Atlas V is standing tall on its mobile launch platform in
the vertical integration facility at Launch Complex 41," said G.
Thomas Marsh, president, Lockheed Martin Space Systems
Company-Astronautics Operations. "At the same time the Atlas V team is
proving out the new operational concepts of the system, the RD180 team
continues its outstanding successful test program to verify that this
engine is performing exactly as we expected. "
BOS Sequence of Events
AV-001, the first flight booster, arrived at Cape Canaveral in June
preceded by the arrival of the stretched Centaur upper stage in May.
Placed in the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center (ASOC) high bay, the
vehicles have been used successfully to validate all of the ground
systems. The ASOC brings together under one roof activities that had
previously been housed in numerous facilities around the Cape.
While the vehicle was undergoing testing in the ASOC, the mobile
launch platform (MLP) was nearing completion. The Atlas V launch
concept does away with a mobile service tower and instead erects the
vehicle on an MLP inside the vertical integration facility (VIF) and
then rolls to the pad 12 hours before launch. On Sept. 7, the MLP with
control vans moved for the first time from its build-up area to the
launch pad. Then Sept. 9, the MLP moved from the pad to the VIF and
was placed on pier supports inside the 292-foot tall structure. All
systems validations and tests during September were successful in
preparation for the early October BOS operation.
The AV-001 booster was first to be erected on the MLP in the VIF on
Oct. 11. At a total height of 191.2 feet (58.3 meters) tall, the 400
series AV-001 is equal in height to a 19-story building. Its mass at
liftoff will be 734,850 pounds (333,326 kg) or approximately 25
percent greater than the mass of the Atlas IIIA, which is currently
the most powerful Atlas variant flying. The booster was followed by
erection of the two interstage adapters. The new stretched 38.5 feet
tall (11.68 meters) Centaur upper stage went up on Oct. 12, followed
by the "boat tail" on Oct. 13. The boat tail is the segment between
the vehicle and the payload. At the conclusion of validation in the
VIF next month, a simulated payload fairing and satellite mass will be
erected atop AV-001 for fit checks and further validation. The entire
process is intended to ensure that the team, the vehicle and the
facilities are prepared for the first launch. The actual launch
campaign for next May’s inaugural Atlas V mission will begin in
RD180 Test Program
The ongoing RD180 rocket engine program now includes 150 test firings
of 40 RD180 test engines, completed successfully and on schedule. The
test program included a test firing in July with a total duration of
394 seconds, exceeding the longest test duration ever performed in the
Russian test facility. With the achievement of this milestone, the
RD180 is now certified to fly all Atlas III and V missions and
configurations. To date, eight RD180 engines have been delivered to
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Denver with five additional
engines scheduled for delivery later this year.
The RD180 engines are built by NPO Energomash in Khimky, Russia, as
part of the RD AMROSS joint venture formed by Pratt & Whitney in the
U.S. and NPO Energomash in Russia. The RD180 first flew on the
successful inaugural launch of the Atlas III May 24, 2000. It will fly
again at the end of the year on another Atlas III that will also carry
the stretched version of Centaur, identical to the one used on AV-001.
Using this evolutionary approach, Lockheed Martin will have
successfully demonstrated the great majority of the Atlas V’s
components and processes before its first flight.
To find out more about Lockheed Martin’s Atlas III and Atlas V launch
systems, including the RD-180 engine, tap into our web site at
http://www.ast.lmco.com. The web site features updates, images and
videos of Atlas development and production milestones, launch sites
and the latest performance capabilities of Lockheed Martin launch
vehicles. You can also find information on International Launch
Services’ web site at http://www.ilslaunch.com. ILS is a joint venture
between Lockheed Martin and two Russian companies that markets and
provides launch services on the Atlas and on the Russian-built Proton.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo.,
is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a
variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and
commercial customers. Chief products include a full-range of space
launch systems, ground systems, remote sensing and communications
satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space
observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles
and missile defense systems.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a highly
diversified global enterprise principally engaged in the research,
design, development, manufacture and integration of
advanced-technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s
core businesses span space and telecommunications, electronics,
information and services, aeronautics, energy and systems integration.
Lockheed Martin had 2000 sales surpassing $25 billion.