Smooth LRR Clears Atlas V for NROL-101 Launch at Sunset Tuesday

Powering Tuesday’s mission uphill will be the Common Core Booster (CCB), seen here being raised into the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at SLC-41 in September. It will be joined by three GEM-63 boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage to lift the classified NROL-101 payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. Photo Credit: ULA

As United Launch Alliance (ULA) wrapped up the critical Launch Readiness Review (LRR) on Saturday morning, ahead of Tuesday evening’s scheduled liftoff of a rarely-used incarnation of its Atlas V workhorse, forecasters at Patrick Air Force Base continue to predict a 90-percent probability of acceptable weather.

Launch of the Atlas V—flying for only the fourth occasion in its “531” configuration, with a 17-foot-diameter (5-meter) payload fairing, three strap-on boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage—is targeted to occur from storied Space Launch Complex (SLC)-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., at 5:58 p.m. EST Tuesday, just after sunset. Primary payload for the mission, installed last week atop the “Mighty Atlas”, is the highly secretive NROL-101 payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

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