Atlas 5 & 200th Centaur launches MUOS-1
2/24/12 ~ 5:15pm

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An Atlas 5 rocket, flying in its biggest configuration ever, launches the first Mobile User Objective System satellite, MUOS-1, for the US Navy. The military comsat, the heaviest Atlas payload to date at over 15,000 pounds, will provide narrowband communications for Navy forces around the world. The Atlas rocket flew with its maximum five SRBs for just the third time, and combined with an extended payload fairing taking it to 206 feet for the second time, it is the largest Atlas ever flown. Seen here from several cameras, the Atlas 5 climbs off Pad 41 as viewed from the Vertical Integration Faclity - the Atlas assembly building - approximately 1,800 feet away and 300 feet up.

The launch also marked the 200th for the Centaur upper stage which has injected spacecraft into orbit for half a century on Atlas and Titan rockets.

Atlas 5 on the pad       Scrub & oxygen venting

<--- MSL Curiosity                                                                 AEHF-2 --->