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United Launch Alliance to deliver Atlas V rocket launch in support of U.S. Space Force flight safety mission

United Launch Alliance (ULA) is putting the final touches in its preparation to launch an Atlas V 511 rocket in support of the U.S. Space Force.

The U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command USSF-8 mission will launch two identical Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites. After launch, the satellites will become synchronized with the earth’s orbit approximately 22,300 miles above the equator.

The mission is progressing toward a January 21 launch date and will take place at Space Launch Complex-41 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

According to ULA, the launch of the GSSAP satellites will be in support of the U.S. Space Command’s space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensor. The satellites will provide watch services to assist with the flight safety of all space-traveling nations within its realm of orbit.

Due to the satellites’ positioning, the technology will allow for spacecraft operators to be warned if another object is approaching the craft to avoid a potentially hazardous situation.

Data obtained from the satellites will contribute to the accuracy of orbital predictions, ULA advised. The mission will serve to expand observers’ knowledge of Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) environment to further enable space flight safety, paving the way to avoid satellite collision.

The mission will see the first and only planned flight of the Atlas V 511 configuration. The 511 rocket is the only configuration in the Atlas family that has yet to fly.

To date, ULA holds an unblemished mission success rate.

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