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STP-1/Atlas V Team Boast Successful Launch

Six satellites were launched into orbit on board a single Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle March 8. This marks the 50th consecutive successful launch by the Air Force since May 1999. (United Launch Alliance photo/Pat Cokery)

Six satellites were launched into orbit on board a single Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle March 8. This marks the 50th consecutive successful launch by the Air Force since May 1999. (United Launch Alliance photo/Pat Cokery)

Los Angeles Air Force Base -- The Space and Missile Systems Center successfully launched six experimental satellites atop an Atlas V rocket Thursday evening, at 10:10 p.m. thirty-three minutes into the launch window. 

The noise from the powerful RD-180 engines at T-0 came seconds later as the rocket pushed it self up and away from Pad 41. 

The mission integration and subsequent launch was a collaborative effort on the part of the Air Force, The Aerospace Corporation, The Defense Advanced Projects Agency, The Department of Energy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, The U.S. Naval Academy, The United Launch Alliance and contractors including The Boeing Company, Ball Aerospace, and AeroAstro A number of firsts came with the success of this launch, milestones that include the 50th consecutive launch by SMC, the first use of an Atlas V rocket by the Air Force under the newly formed United Launch Alliance partnership, and first EELV mission dedicated entirely to the Space Test Program. 

"I am just overwhelmed and ecstatic by the results of last night's launch" said." Lt. Col. Carol Welsch, Director of the DoD Space Test Program and Space Development Group. "The separation systems on the ESPA ring worked flawlessly allowing the satellites to deploy nominally. I don't believe the flight to the designated mission orbits could have gone any better than it did." 

This was the ninth launch of the Atlas V rocket that plays an important role in assured access to space. 

"I congratulate the members of the Space Test Program, DARPA, and United Launch Alliance team on their successful mission accomplishment last evening," said Col. Samuel Greaves, STP-1 Mission Director. I am proud to be a part of the success of this mission and I look forward to supporting future launches that show the same degree of dedication to mission success. Well done!" 

The Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems including six wings and three groups responsible for GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control network, space based infrared systems, intercontinental ballistic missile systems and space situational awareness capabilities. SMC manages more than $60 billion in contracts, executes annual budgets of $10 billion and employs more than 6,800 people worldwide.

SMC Public Affairs Points of Contact: Ms. Jo Adail Stephenson, Ms. Candrea Thomas, Ms. Tonya Racasner - Space and Missile Systems Center, Public Affairs Media Relations Division - (310) 653-2371