ULA Atlas 5 launches Air Force AEHF-5 communications satellite

  • ULA Atlas 5 launches Air Force AEHF-5 communications satellite

ULA Atlas 5 launches Air Force AEHF-5 communications satellite

The United Launch Alliance launched an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday.

Two issues with the rocket were investigated in the minutes before launch, pushing back the initial liftoff time by almost half an hour.

Lockheed Martin built the AEHF-5 for the Air Force, and confirmed via email this afternoon that it not only achieved geostationary transfer obit but is responding as planned to the USAF's 4th Space Operations Squadron.

ULA launching an Atlas V rocket, carrying an AEHF satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

The joint venture is transitioning from its Atlas V rocket - a legacy workhorse for USA national security missions - to Vulcan Centaur, a heavy-lift vehicle tailored to compete for lucrative defense contracts and wean the United States off the Russian-made RD-180 engines that power Atlas. With the $1.1-billion AEHF-5 satellite onboard, the rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex-41 at 10:13 UTC this morning.

This mission launched aboard an Atlas V 551 configuration vehicle, including a 5-meter large Payload Fairing (PLF) and standing at 197 ft. tall.

The AEHF network is the follow-on to the Milstar system, improving on the capabilities of Milstar. The 551 rocket has launched groundbreaking missions for our nation-from the critically important MUOS constellation to historic science missions including New Horizons, the first mission to Pluto and the Juno mission to Jupiter.

The payload is the fifth communications satellite in the Lockheed Martin-built Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) series for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Centre.

The 6,500 kg. AEHF-5 completes a geostationary ring of five satellites providing global coverage for the United States and worldwide partners Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.