Saturday, September 05, 2009

Space Coast prepares for Tuesday Atlas 5 Launch

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket is scheduled to boost a classified department of defense satellite into earth orbit on Tuesday from America's sunny Space Coast.

Lift-off of the Atlas 5-401 is set for Tuesday, September 8 at 5:35 pm EDT -- the opening of a 129 minute launch window -- from launch complex 41 here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The payload, simply called PAN, is classified government communications satellite with no details being released on the nature or look of the American payload. Based on rocket specifications, PAN is about 1 meter wide, and not as heavy as most DoD satellites.

At T-3 seconds, the Atlas' RD-180 engine will ignite launching the 107 foot, white and bronze colored rocket from it's sea side pad at T+1 second.

Following an on time launch, the spacecraft will separate from the centaur upper stage at the conclusion of the stage's second burn, at 7:34 pm. will carry the launch LIVE right here, and follow the countdown via our LIVE updates on your mobile phone or PDA on Twitter: @spacelaunchnews.

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