Atlas 5 launches six satellites on STP-1
3/8/07 ~ 10:10pm

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A Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket, the ninth to fly, launches six satellites into orbit on the United States Air Force's Space Test Program-1 mission on March 8 at 10:10pm EST. The two main, and largest, satellites are known as ASTRO and NextSat. They will, together, conduct the Orbital Express in-space, autonomous satellite refueling demonstration. If successful, it will be the first of its kind and pave the way for future satellite technology. Four other small satellites hitched a ride into space to conduct various tests. It was the first nighttime Atlas 5 launch, flying in the 401 configuration with no solid rocket boosters attached and just the powerful RD-180 engine performing flawlessly on 860,000 pounds of thrust.

<--- ASTRA 1KR                                    NRO L-30 --->