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Photos: Atlas 5 rocket moved to launch pad for Thursday takeoff

Ready to deliver 1.5 million pounds of thrust Thursday morning, an Atlas 5 rocket was rolled from its assembly building to the launch pad today for its national security satellite-deployment flight.

The United Launch Alliance rocket, equipped with two strap-on solid-propellant boosters for added performance, will launch the clandestine NROL-61 payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office from Cape Canaveral.

Liftoff is planned for 8:37 a.m. EDT (1237 GMT).

The booster was wheeled out aboard a mobile launcher platform, emerging from the hangar where the rocket’s two stages and the payload were integrated over the past three weeks.

The slow drive from the 30-story Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad used a pair of specially-made “trackmobiles” to carry the rocket’s 1.4-million pound launching platform along rail tracks for the 1,800-foot trip.

The rocket is flying the 421 vehicle configuration. The version features two stages, two solids and a 14-foot-diameter nose cone. It is powered off the launch pad by an RD AMROSS RD-180 main engine and Aerojet Rocketdyne solids. The Centaur upper stage has an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 cryogenic engine.

Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

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See earlier NROL-61 coverage.

Our Atlas archive.

Source: You’ll find lots of information about the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Also we have facts about the space station, ISS, SpaceX launch, space program, and outerspace. Space Flight

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Photos: Atlas 5 rocket moved to launch pad for Thursday takeoff

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