Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Atlas V rocket successfully launches from Cape Canaveral

Atlas V rocket successfully launches from Cape Canaveral

United Launch Alliance strapped five solid rocket boosters on its Atlas V rocket for the launch at 12:15 a.m. from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The Advanced Extremely High Frequency 4 communications satellite for the US military is the fourth in a six-satellite constellation. It is the 79th for an Atlas V rocket and the 9th in the 551 configuration. If all goes well, the Centaur will deploy AEHF-4 in its final geostationary orbit about 22,300 miles (35,888 kilometers) above Earth about 3.5 hours after liftoff.

The AEHF system provides global, survivable, highly secure and protected communications for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms.

"It's an important asset for the warfighter and will be employed for years to come", Lt. Gen. John Thompson of the USAF Space and Missiles Systems Center in Los Angeles said of AEHF-4 in a statement when the satellite was delivered to its launch site in July.

On board the rocket was the AEHF-4 satellite.

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The first three AEHF satellites were launched in 2010, 2012 and 2013, with the system being declared at initial operational capability in 2015.

The U.S. Defense Department has several partners in the AEHF program.

AEHF also serves worldwide partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. USA officials are also in negotiations with Australia's defense department for a potential partnership, Getts added. ULA's next mission will be the launch of the classified NROL-71 spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Lockheed Martin is on contract with the Air Force to deliver the fifth and sixth satellites and upgraded the Mission Planning ground system.

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