Space Force launches its 1st mission with virus precautions

James Marshall
March 27, 2020

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket emblazoned with the Space Force chevron logo carried the satellite toward orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Stations Complex 41. Built by Lockheed Martin, this US military spacecraft will provide highly-secure communications. Gen. Doug Schiess, commander of the 45th Area Wing and vary director at close by Patrick Air Force Base.

The payload on board is the sixth in a constellation of next-generation satellites known as Advanced Extremely High Frequency or AEHF.

This is the sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite being launched for the military, but the previous five have all been deployed under the U.S. Air Force because the Space Force only came into existence officially a year ago. Upgraded from the older Milstar satellites, the constellation has provided secure communication from 22,000 miles (35,400 kilometers) up for almost a decade.

The Atlas V 551 configuration rocket used in Thursday's launch is the most powerful version of the Atlas V fleet, producing more than two-and-a-half million pounds of thrust, it was added in the release. The constellation provides communications support to USA and allied military members and includes several Earth-observing instruments.

Schiess mentioned the Space Force is taking all precautions, together with the rotation of launch crews and proscribing interplay between these crews, and sitting additional aside within the operations center. "Surfaces will be cleaned between people, etc.", tweeted Bruno, who monitored the launch from company headquarters in Denver.

Argentinian officials cited travel restrictions as the reason for the delayed launch of the Earth observation satellite.

Another pandemic effect: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's planned name change to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station is on hold.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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