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United Launch Alliance delivers on classified U.S. Space Force missile-tracking mission

United Launch Alliance (ULA) has delivered on yet another launch that will prove vital to U.S. national security in the realm of missile defense.

At 6:15 p.m. CST on Friday, a ULA Atlas V rocket carrying experimental military payloads for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla.

The launch served to assist the U.S. Space Force in demonstrating a space-based global missile warning capability against emerging missile and counter-space threats as part of the USSF-12 mission. Facets of the launch consisted of a classified mission to demonstrate future technology for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

Displaying its commitment to unparalleled precision, ULA has launched 151 times with 100% mission success.

In a statement, Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs, touched on the rocket manufacturer’s partnership with the U.S. Space Force and expressed gratitude to the company’s industrial partners.

“This mission once again demonstrated ULA’s unmatched capability of precisely delivering the country’s most critical assets to a highly complex orbit,” advised Wentz in a release. “Our strong partnership with the USSF team is essential to maintain our nation’s security advantages and achieve robust mission assurance. Thank you to the ULA team and our mission partners for the indelible commitment to mission success.”


According to ULA, the mission launched on an Atlas V 541 configuration rocket that included a 5-meter short payload fairing. The mission’s Atlas booster was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine.

Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage and Northrop Grumman provided the Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM) 63 solid rocket boosters.

Friday marked the 94th launch of the Atlas V rocket. ULA’s next launch is the sixth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO 6) mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command, planned for Aug. 2022, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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