Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas V 401


American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas V version with a 4-m diameter payload fairing, single engine Centaur upper stage, and no strap-on solid boosters. Payloads: 7,095 kg (15,642 lb) to sun synchronous orbit; 4,950 kg (10,910 lb) to geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Status: Active.
Gross mass: 338,640 kg (746,570 lb).
Payload: 7,095 kg (15,641 lb).
Height: 58.30 m (191.20 ft).
Diameter: 3.81 m (12.49 ft).
Span: 3.81 m (12.49 ft).
Thrust: 3,827.00 kN (860,343 lbf).
First Launch: 2002.08.21.
Last Launch: 2011.05.07.
Number: 11 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Eurostar 2000 French communications satellite. 24 launches, 1988.03.11 (Telecom 1C) to 2006.11.08 (Badr 4 ARABSAT 4B). More...
  • MicroSat-100 British microsatellite bus. 9 launches, 1995.07.07 (CERISE) to 2009.07.29. Enlarged version of the basic Surrey Microsat bus. More...
  • FalconSat American technology satellite. 3 launches, 2000.01.27 (Falconsat) to 2007.03.09 (Falconsat-3). The JAWSAT/FalconSat payloads were developed as a joint effort between the Air Force Academy and Weber State University. More...
  • SDS-3 American military communications satellite, provided data relay services for optical reconnaissance and other military spacecraft. Operational, first launch 2000.12.06. More...
  • NOSS-3 American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Operational, first launch 2001.09.08. More...
  • Cubesat American low-cost nanosatellite bus. Used in dozens of launches, the first on 2003.06.30. More...
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter American Mars orbiter. One launch, 2005.08.12. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was the first spacecraft designed from the beginning for aerobraking to place it into the desired orbit around Mars. More...
  • STPSat American technology satellite. Operational, first launch 2007.03.09. More...
  • RS-300 American technology satellite bus, first launched 2007.03.09. Ball Aerospace's RS-300 was a small, low-cost spacecraft aimed at cost-capped principle investigator led missions for Earth or space science. More...
  • Orbital Express Astro American rendezvous technology satellite. One launch, 2007.03.09, Astro. The active satellite of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Orbital Express program. More...
  • Midstar American technology satellite. One launch, 2007.03.09. More...
  • SDO NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory mission was to observe the Sun for a five year period from an inclined geosynchronous orbit. From there the satellite could constantly download data to the White Sands ground station, while minimizing the time spent in Earth's shadow. The satellite's three instruments measured the extreme ultraviolet radiation output, returning up to 150 million bits of data per second. Launched 2010.02.11, 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
  • Eutelsat EUTELSAT regional geostationary telecommunication satellite for European countries. Operated by the EUTELSAT organization. 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...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC3E Atlas V, Atlas launch complex. Atlas test facility, originally designated PALC1-2, then LC1-2, and finally upgraded to a Space Launch Facility in 1966. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC41 Titan, Atlas V launch complex. Complexes 40 and 41 were constructed as part of the Integrate-Transfer-Launch (ITL) Titan launch facility at the north end of Cape Canaveral in the early 1960s. Over the next three decades, the complexes supported a wide variety of military space missions involving Titan IIIC, Titan 34D and Titan IV. Complex 41 was deactivated at the end of 1977, then upgraded for the Titan IV program in the 1986-88 period. In October 1999, Complex 41 was demolished with high explosives in order for a new pad for launch of the Atlas 5 rocket to be erected. By then it had been the starting point for 27 Titan flights. More...

Associated Stages
  • Atlas CCB Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 306,914/22,461 kg. Thrust 4,152.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 338 seconds. Common Core Booster uses Glushko RD-180 engine and new isogrid tanks. Used in Atlas IV/USAF EELV, Atlas V. Includes 272 kg booster interstage adapter and 1297 kg Centaur interstage adapter. 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 V 401 Chronology


2002 August 21 - . 22:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401. LV Configuration: Atlas V 401 AV-001.
  • Hot Bird 6 - . Mass: 3,905 kg (8,609 lb). Nation: Europe. Agency: Eutelsat. Manufacturer: Cannes. Program: Eutelsat. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: Spacebus 3000. USAF Sat Cat: 27499 . COSPAR: 2002-038A. Apogee: 35,814 km (22,253 mi). Perigee: 35,757 km (22,218 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. This was the maiden flight of the Atlas 5 EELV. Launch delayed from May 9, July 8 and 29, August 6 and 12 due to both payload and booster delays. Hot Bird 6 was a European (EUTELSAT) geostationary communications spacecraft. The 4.9-ton Hot Bird 6 (a Spacebus 3000B3) was to provide digital radio and television coverage to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East through its 28 Ku-band and four Ka-band transponders after being parked over 13 E longitude. As of 2007 Mar 4 located at 12.95E drifting at 0.012E degrees per day.

2003 May 13 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401. LV Configuration: Atlas V 401 AV-002.
  • Hellas Sat 2 - . Mass: 3,440 kg (7,580 lb). Nation: Greece. Agency: Hellas. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: Eurostar 2000. USAF Sat Cat: 27811 . COSPAR: 2003-020A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,775 km (22,229 mi). Inclination: 0.1000 deg. Period: 1,436.20 min. Summary: Launch delayed from January 30, March 11 and 14, May 10 and 12, 2003. Spacecraft former Intelsat KTV, NSS-KTV, NSS-6, Intelsat APR-3. As of 2007 Mar 8 located at 38.95E drifting at 0.006E degrees per day..

2005 August 12 - . 11:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401. LV Configuration: Atlas V 401 AV-007.
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - . Mass: 2,180 kg (4,800 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Manufacturer: Lockheed. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. USAF Sat Cat: 28788 . COSPAR: 2005-029A. Summary: Transferred from Atlas 3B. Delayed from August 10 and 11, 2005..

2007 March 9 - . 03:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401. LV Configuration: Atlas V 401 AV-013.
  • STPSat-1 - . Mass: 170 kg (370 lb). Nation: USA. Manufacturer: AeroAstro. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: STPSat. USAF Sat Cat: 30775 . COSPAR: 2007-006D. Apogee: 560 km (340 mi). Perigee: 558 km (346 mi). Inclination: 35.4000 deg. Period: 95.80 min. Summary: STPSat carried experiments to study the Earth's atmosphere, ionosphere and radiation environment. It also released the two MEPSI picosatellites..
  • Astro - . Mass: 1,090 kg (2,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Manufacturer: Boeing. Class: Technology. Type: Rendezvous technology satellite. Spacecraft: Orbital Express Astro. USAF Sat Cat: 30772 . COSPAR: 2007-006A. Apogee: 498 km (309 mi). Perigee: 491 km (305 mi). Inclination: 46.0000 deg. Period: 94.50 min. The active satellite portion of DARPA's Orbital Express satellite servicing experiment. Following operational tests while still joined or grappled together, the first 10-m distance Nextsat free flight and redocking by Astro was conducted on 5 May. On the second free-flight test on 11 May a serious computer failure left the two spacecraft 6 km apart. The problem was solved, revised software was uploaded to Astro, and it redocked with Nextsat on 19 May.
  • NextSat - . Mass: 250 kg (550 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Manufacturer: Ball. Class: Technology. Type: Rendezvous technology satellite. Spacecraft: RS-300. USAF Sat Cat: 30774 . COSPAR: 2007-006C. Apogee: 498 km (309 mi). Perigee: 491 km (305 mi). Inclination: 46.0000 deg. Period: 94.50 min. Summary: The passive satellite portion of DARPA's Orbital Express satellite servicing experiment. NextSat carried hydrazine for fluid transfer experiments, but no propulsion system. Attitude was controlled by momentum wheels supplemented by magnetic torquer rods..
  • Midstar 1 - . Mass: 120 kg (260 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN PGS. Manufacturer: USNA. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Midstar. USAF Sat Cat: 30773 . COSPAR: 2007-006B. Apogee: 498 km (309 mi). Perigee: 495 km (307 mi). Inclination: 46.0000 deg. Period: 94.50 min. MidSTAR-1 was flown under the DoD Space Test Program and carried the Internet Communications Satellite (ICSat) Experiment (SERB 2002-39) and the Configurable Fault Tolerant Processor (CFTP) Experiment for the Naval Postgraduate School (SERB 2002-34). Planned mission duration was two years.
  • Falconsat-3 - . Mass: 50 kg (110 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Manufacturer: USAF Colorado Springs. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Falconsat. USAF Sat Cat: 30776 . COSPAR: 2007-006E. Apogee: 559 km (347 mi). Perigee: 558 km (346 mi). Inclination: 35.4000 deg. Period: 95.80 min. Summary: USAF Academy student satellite with ionospheric experiments and plasma atttiude control thrusters..
  • CFESat - . Payload: Heavily modified Surrey MicroSat-100. Mass: 159 kg (350 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Los Alamos. Manufacturer: Surrey. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: MicroSat-100. USAF Sat Cat: 30777 . COSPAR: 2007-006F. Apogee: 563 km (349 mi). Perigee: 558 km (346 mi). Inclination: 35.4000 deg. Period: 95.90 min. The Cibola Flight Experiment satellites carried eight new technologies for space flight validation, including a new power supply, inflatable antennas, deployable booms, a new type of launch-vehicle separation system, and a high-density pack of AA lithium-ion batteries. Cibola's on-board field programmable gate array supercomputer processed data onboard, then beamed only the results rather than the raw data to the ground. The Cibola also had a science mission: the study of lightning, ionospheric disturbances, and other sources of radio frequency (RF) atmospheric noise.
  • MEPSI Picosat - . Mass: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Manufacturer: Aerospace. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Cubesat. COSPAR: 2007-006x. Apogee: 563 km (349 mi). Perigee: 558 km (346 mi). Inclination: 35.4000 deg. Summary: Released from STPSat..
  • MEPSI Picosat - . Mass: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Manufacturer: Aerospace. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Cubesat. COSPAR: 2007-006x. Apogee: 563 km (349 mi). Perigee: 558 km (346 mi). Inclination: 35.4000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: Released from STPSat..

2007 June 15 - . 15:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401. LV Configuration: Atlas V 401 AV-009.
  • USA 194 - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRO. Manufacturer: Lockheed. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: NOSS-3. USAF Sat Cat: 31701 . COSPAR: 2007-027A. Apogee: 1,246 km (774 mi). Perigee: 776 km (482 mi). Inclination: 63.0000 deg. Classified National Reconnaissance Office mission. There appeared to be problem in the second burn of the Centaur upper stage. Amateur observors believed that two satellites were to be have been deployed in 1150 km altitude, 63 deg inclination, but that only a 776 km x 1246 km was achieved. However it was believed that the payloads could reach the final intended orbits using on-board propulsion

2007 December 10 - . 22:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401. LV Configuration: Atlas V 401 AV-015.
  • USA 198 - . Payload: NROL-24. Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: SDS-3. USAF Sat Cat: 32378 . COSPAR: 2007-060A. Apogee: 39,705 km (24,671 mi). Perigee: 515 km (320 mi). Inclination: 62.6000 deg. Classified National Reconnaisance Office payload; probable primary payload data relay communications. May also have carried SBIRS HEO-2 infrared missile warning sensor and a TWINS-B magnetospheric research experiment. Initial orbit 261 x 16776 km x 60.0 deg.

2009 June 18 - . 21:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401.
  • LRO - . Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Spacecraft: LRO. USAF Sat Cat: 35315 . COSPAR: 2009-031A. Summary: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
  • LCROSS - . Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Spacecraft: LRO. USAF Sat Cat: 35316 . COSPAR: 2009-031B. Lunar impact probe, designed to detect ice in the lunar polar regions. LCROSS and the Centaur stage flew 3270 km from the Moon at 1030 GMT on June 23 and were hurled to a 5820,00 km apogee. On 9 October LCROSS separated from the Centaur. The Centaur impacted in Cabeus crater at 11:31 GMT on 9 October followed by LCROSS at 11:35 GMT. The impacts did not produce the expected spectacular impact plume as expected. However later data reduction did show significant amounts of water.

2009 September 8 - . 21:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401.
  • USA 207 - . Payload: PAN. Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: PAN. USAF Sat Cat: 35815 . COSPAR: 2009-047A. Summary: Classified communications satellite, perhaps providing services for the CIA to replace channels hosted on the US Navy's UHF Follow-On series. Stationed in geostationary orbit at 34 deg E..

2009 October 18 - . 16:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401. LV Configuration: Atlas V 401 s/n AV017.
  • USA 210 - . Payload: DMSP 5D F-18. Mass: 1,200 kg (2,600 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-3. USAF Sat Cat: 35951 . COSPAR: 2009-057A. Apogee: 858 km (533 mi). Perigee: 843 km (523 mi). Inclination: 98.9000 deg. Period: 101.90 min. Summary: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. After release of the weather satellite the Centaur AV-017 upper stage was tested, having enough propellant left over to escape the earth's gravity and enter solar orbit..

2010 February 11 - . 15:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401. LV Configuration: Atlas V s/n AV-021.
  • SDO - . Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Spacecraft: SDO. USAF Sat Cat: 36395 . COSPAR: 2010-005A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,773 km (22,228 mi). Inclination: 28.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Solar Dynamics Observatory. The Centaur AV-021 upper stage moved from an initial 175 km x 3706 km x 28.7 deg parking orbit to a 2480 km x 35369 km x 28.6 deg transfer orbitand then released the satellite, which used its own R4D thruster to reach geosynchronous orbit.

2011 May 7 - . 18:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401.
  • SBIRS GEO 1 - . Payload: SBIRS GEO-1. Nation: USA. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: AS 2100. USAF Sat Cat: 37481 . COSPAR: 2011-019A. Apogee: 35,808 km (22,250 mi). Perigee: 7,864 km (4,886 mi). Inclination: 12.9000 deg. Period: 786.10 min. First geosynchronous element of the Space-Based Infrared System, an expensive new multispectral early warning and tracking system that forms part of the American missile defense system. The system also include payloads installed on Molniya-orbit signals intelligence satellite (USA 184 and USA 200). The spacecraft carry an infrared telescope with a large focal plane infrared array to monitor large areas of the Earth at once. An internal moving mirror scans the visible disk of the Earth to detect and track possible missile launches. It also has capabilites to track high-altitude aircraft and thermal events on the surface. The new SBIRS network will succeed 23 DSP satellites launched from 1970 to 2007. GEO-1 was inserted into geostationary transfer orbit by the booster and used its own on Leros-1 apogee motor to maneuver into geosynchronous orbit.

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