US: United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) recently lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3. Designated NROL-35, the mission is in support of national defense. The mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 541 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter diameter payload fairing along with four Aerojet Rocketdyne solid rocket motors attached to the Atlas booster. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the inaugural flight of the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.
"ULA is extremely pleased with this first flight of the new, RL10C-1 engine. We have been working closely with Aerojet Rocketdyne and our Air Force customers for several years to develop and extensively test this next-generation engine to enable the most reliable and cost-effective upper stage propulsion for our Atlas and Delta programmes,” said Jim Sponnick, Vice President, ULA.