Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas 3B SEC


American orbital launch vehicle.

Status: Retired 2005.
First Launch: 2003.04.12.
Last Launch: 2005.02.03.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • HS 601 American communications satellite bus. First launch 1990.01.09. 3-axis unified ARC 22 N and one Marquardt 490 N bipropellant thrusters, Sun and Barnes Earth sensors and two 61 Nms 2-axis gimbaled momentum bias wheels. More...
  • NOSS-3 American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Operational, first launch 2001.09.08. More...

See also
  • Atlas V The Atlas V launch vehicle system was a completely new design that succeeded the earlier Atlas series. Atlas V vehicles were based on the 3.8-m (12.5-ft) diameter Common Core Booster (CCB) powered by a single Russian RD-180 engine. These could be clustered together, and complemented by a Centaur upper stage, and up to five solid rocket boosters, to achieve a wide range of performance. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Martin American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Martin Marietta Astronautics Group (1956), Denver, CO, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • UHF US Navy communications satellite network; Ultra High Frequency Follow On. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC36B Atlas V, Atlas launch complex. Atlas Centaur launch pad, in service from 1964 until the retirement of the launch vehicle. More...

Associated Stages
  • Atlas IIIA Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 195,628/13,725 kg. Thrust 4,148.72 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 337 seconds. The American Atlas booster and sustainer engine arrangement was replaced by derivatives of Glushko engines developed for the Ukrainian Zenit launch vehicle. Not capable of single stage to single stage to orbit capability (an Internet spaceflight urban myth). More...
  • Centaur V1 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 22,825/2,026 kg. Thrust 99.19 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 451 seconds. Single-engine Centaur for Atlas V. Centaur is powered by either one or two Pratt & Whitney RL10A-4-2 turbopump-fed engines burning liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. For typical, high-energy mission applications, Centaur will be configured with one RL10 engine. Guidance, tank pressurization, and propellant usage controls for both Atlas and Centaur phases are provided by the inertial navigation unit (INU) located on the Centaur forward equipment module. More...

Atlas 3B SEC Chronology


2003 April 12 - . 00:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. Launch Pad: SLC36B. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas 3B SEC. LV Configuration: Atlas 3B-SEC AC-205.
  • AsiaSat 4 - . Payload: HS 601HP / AsiaSat 1R. Mass: 4,042 kg (8,911 lb). Nation: China. Agency: AsiaSat. Manufacturer: El Segundo. Program: Asiasat. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 27718 . COSPAR: 2003-014A. Apogee: 35,805 km (22,248 mi). Perigee: 35,772 km (22,227 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.20 min. Delayed from May 28, 2002, and January 13, February 5, and April 11, 2003. AsiaSat 4 was designed to provide broadcast, telecommunications and broadband multimedia services to the Asia Pacific region, and direct-to-home broadcast servic-es to Hong Kong, from its orbital position of 122 deg East longitude.The satellite generated up to 9,600 watts using two sun-tracking four-panel solar wings covered with triple-junction gallium arsenide solar cells. AsiaSat 4 was to operate in C-band and Ku-band. The satellite carried 28 active transponders with six spares in C-band, powered by 55-watt traveling-wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs), and 20 active transponders with four spares in Ku-band, powered by 140-watt TWTAs. The C-band payload was designed to offer pan-Asian coverage, similar to AsiaSat 3S, also a 601HP model. The Ku-band payload provided high power, and spot beams for selected areas in either the Fixed Satellite Service frequency band or in the Broadcast Satellite Service frequency band. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 122.23E drifting at 0.011W degrees per day.

2003 December 18 - . 02:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. Launch Pad: SLC36B. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas 3B SEC. LV Configuration: Atlas 3B-SEC AC-203.
  • USA 174 - . Payload: UFO F/O F11. Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Program: UHF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 28117 . COSPAR: 2003-057A. Apogee: 35,798 km (22,243 mi). Perigee: 35,781 km (22,233 mi). Inclination: 4.2000 deg. Period: 1,436.20 min. Summary: The last UHF Follow-On communications satellite for the US Navy. The satellite provided fleet communications from geostationary orbit..

2005 February 3 - . 07:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. Launch Pad: SLC36B. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas 3B SEC. LV Configuration: Atlas 3B-SEC AC-206.
  • USA 181 - . Nation: USA. Agency: ILS. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: NOSS-3. USAF Sat Cat: 28537 . COSPAR: 2005-004A. Apogee: 1,209 km (751 mi). Perigee: 1,011 km (628 mi). Inclination: 63.4000 deg. Last launch of an Atlas model using the original, innovative, balloon propellant tanks conceived in 1947. Third launch of new generation paired satellites used for tracking, characterisation, and intelligence on naval vessels and civilian shipping worldwide.
  • USA 181 companion - . Nation: USA. Agency: ILS. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: NOSS-3. USAF Sat Cat: 28541 . COSPAR: 2005-004C. Apogee: 1,209 km (751 mi). Perigee: 1,011 km (628 mi). Inclination: 63.4000 deg.

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