ULA - Atlas V-541 - USSF-12 - LC-41 - Cape Canaveral Space Force Station - July 2, 2022

ULA - Atlas V-541 - USSF-12 - LC-41 - Cape Canaveral Space Force Station - July 2, 2022

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A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket will launch the USSF-12 mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC). Liftoff will occur from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

The launch is scheduled for July 1, 6:00 p.m. EDT / 22:00 UTC / 00:00 CEST (July 2).

Mission Overview

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket is launching the USSF-12 mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC). USSF-12 features two satellite payloads: the Wide Field of View (WFOV) Testbed for SSC's Space Sensing Directorate and the USSF-12 Ring spacecraft for the Defense Department’s Space Test Program. Atlas V will deliver both spacecraft directly to geosynchronous orbit approximately 22,000 miles (35,500 km) above the equator approximately 6 hours after liftoff. Liftoff will occur from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla.

The forward payload, WFOV, is a testbed spacecraft that informs the Next Gen Overhead Persistent Infrared program (OPIR). The Next Gen OPIR program will succeed the Space Based Infrared Systems program and is designed provide a resilient space-based global missile warning capability against emerging missile and counter-space threats. Sponsored by Space Systems Command and managed by the NASA Ames Research Center, the mid-sized WFOV spacecraft is based on Millennium’s AQUILA M8 affordable platform series and hosts a transformational OPIR six-degree staring sensor developed under a separate contract by L3Harris Technologies. The WFOV testbed is designed for a 3- to 5-year life with a total mass up to 6,613 lbs (3,000 kg) and a payload accommodation over 771 lbs (350 kg). WFOV’s primary mission in orbit is to explore future missile warning algorithms with data collected in space.

The aft payload is a propulsive ESPA named the USSF-12 Ring. The Ring is a classified mission to demonstrate future technology for the Department of Defense.