ULA launches STP-3 mission8. 12. 2021
United Launch Alliance launched an Atlas V rocket on its fifth and final mission of 2021. STP-3 marks the third dedicated launch for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Test Program. This mission carried classified national security payloads and a NASA mission to demonstrate in-space laser communications.
The primary spacecraft is known as STPSat-6 which will host nine experiments including those for NASA and the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration).
An experiment for NNSA is built with a sensor to detect nuclear explosions on Earth. NASA’s LCRD (Laser Communications Relay Demonstration) is designed to test laser communications as an alternative to typical radio communications for NASA spacecraft.