Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas V 551


American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas V with 5-m diameter payload fairing, single engine Centaur upper stage, and five strap-on solid boosters. Payloads: 20,520 kg (45,238 lb) to sun synchronous orbit; 8,700 kg (19,180 lb) to geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Status: Active.
Gross mass: 587,000 kg (1,294,000 lb).
Payload: 20,520 kg (45,230 lb).
Height: 65.50 m (214.80 ft).
Diameter: 3.81 m (12.49 ft).
Span: 6.91 m (22.67 ft).
Thrust: 10,632.00 kN (2,390,168 lbf).
First Launch: 2006.01.19.
Last Launch: 2011.08.05.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • New Horizons American outer planets probe. One launch, 2006.01.19. New Horizons was the first spacecraft targeted on Pluto, the last unvisited body of the nine original planets known at the beginning of the space age. Pluto Flyby. More...

See also
  • Atlas V The Atlas V launch vehicle system was a completely new design that succeeded the earlier Atlas series. Atlas V vehicles were based on the 3.8-m (12.5-ft) diameter Common Core Booster (CCB) powered by a single Russian RD-180 engine. These could be clustered together, and complemented by a Centaur upper stage, and up to five solid rocket boosters, to achieve a wide range of performance. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Martin American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Martin Marietta Astronautics Group (1956), Denver, CO, USA. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC41 Titan, Atlas V launch complex. Complexes 40 and 41 were constructed as part of the Integrate-Transfer-Launch (ITL) Titan launch facility at the north end of Cape Canaveral in the early 1960s. Over the next three decades, the complexes supported a wide variety of military space missions involving Titan IIIC, Titan 34D and Titan IV. Complex 41 was deactivated at the end of 1977, then upgraded for the Titan IV program in the 1986-88 period. In October 1999, Complex 41 was demolished with high explosives in order for a new pad for launch of the Atlas 5 rocket to be erected. By then it had been the starting point for 27 Titan flights. More...

Atlas V 551 Chronology


2006 January 19 - . 19:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 551. LV Configuration: Atlas V 551 AV-010 / Star-48.
  • New Horizons - . Mass: 478 kg (1,053 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Manufacturer: APL. Class: Outer planets. Type: Outer planets probe. Spacecraft: New Horizons. USAF Sat Cat: 28928 . COSPAR: 2006-001A. Last robotic mission to an unexplored planet in our solar system. New Horizons was due to receive a gravity boost from Jupiter in February 2007, then fly by Pluto in 2015. During launch toward Jupiter it reached a higher velocity than any manmade object, and was the first to be boosted directly to solar escape velocity. The trajectory had a perihelion of 0.98 AU, an inclination of 0.87 deg and an eccentricity of 1.03. After the Jupiter encounter it was to have a perihelion of 2.2 AU, an inclination of 2.3 deg and an eccentricity of 1.40. At encounter with Pluto on July 14, 2015, the spacecraft would be 1.1 AU above the ecliptic plane and 32.9 AU from the Sun, leaving the solar system toward the star Xi Sgr.

2011 August 5 - . 16:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 551.
  • Juno - . Nation: USA. Class: Outer planets. Type: Outer planets probe. Spacecraft: Juno. USAF Sat Cat: 37773 . COSPAR: 2011-040A. Accelerated by the AV-029 Centaur to a hyperbolic escape orbit at 17:15 GMT into a 1.0 AU x 2.26 AU x 0.1 deg solar orbit. A 500-km flyby of Earth on 9 October 2013 will pump this orbit towards Jupiter. It is planned to enter Jovian orbit in July 2016, and be commaned to bun up in Jupiter's atmosphere in October 2017. Payloads included magnetometers, plasma and particle instruments, UV auroral imagers and spectrometers, and the JunoCam imager. The probe has a mass of 1593 kg and carries a further 2032 kg of propellant. Its three large solar arrays span around 22 meters; it is the first spacecraft to fly to the outer solar system without radioisotope power sources.

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