(Reuters) – United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp, blasted off into space on Thursday morning, one of the final satellites for the U.S. Air Force’s new secure communications network.
The satellite was launched at 6:13 a.m. (1030 GMT) from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop ULA’s Atlas V rocket, the same vehicle primed to send a manned space capsule into orbit for NASA by 2020.
Thursday - Launch - Spate - Delays - Venture
Thursday’s successful launch followed a rare spate of technical delays with the venture’s flagship rocket.
The Lockheed Martin-built Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite is one of six in a constellation upgrade to the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s older Milstar network.
AEHF-5 - Mission - Lift-off - June - Battery
The AEHF-5 mission was originally slated for lift-off on June 27, but a battery issue pushed that date to July 9. Launch was again delayed due to a mishap with a supplier’s component of the rocket, which “demands that all parts are suspect until we can prove otherwise,” ULA chief executive Tory Bruno wrote on Twitter...
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