Gorgeous Sunset Blastoff Delivers Multi Satellite Payload of Air Force Research Satellites to High Orbit on Mightiest ULA Atlas V

A
United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Air Force Space Command
AFSPC-11 mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on April 14, 2018 at
7:13 p.m. EDT
on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.  Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

Ken Kremer     SpaceUpClose.com     14 April 2018



CAPE CANAVERAL
AIR FORCE STATION, FL – Skywatchers were treated to an afternoon delight with the
gorgeous sunset blastoff of the mightiest Atlas V rocket from the Florida Space
Coast on Saturday, April 14, delivering a multi-satellite payload of research satellites
to high earth orbit for the U.S. Air Force  by rocket builder United Launch Alliance

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Air
Force Space Command (AFSPC)-11 mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41
on April 14 right at the opening of the launch window at 7:13 p.m. EDT.

“AFSPC-11
is a multi-payload mission,” noted ULA.

The
Atlas V successfully delivered the payload codenamed AFSPC-11 to geostationary
orbit as planned some six hours after a flawless liftoff from the sunshine
state.


A
United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Air Force Space Command
AFSPC-11 mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on April 14, 2018 at
7:13 p.m. EDT
on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.  Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

The
AFSPC-11 payload is comprised of a stacked pair of satellites named CBAS and
EAGLE

The
forward payload is referred to as CBAS (Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM)
and the aft spacecraft is EAGLE (EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA)
Augmented Geosynchronous Experiment), said Air Force officials.










“Today’s launch is a testament to why the ULA team continually serves as our
nation’s most reliable and successful launch provider for our nation’s most
critical space assets,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and
Commercial Programs, in a statement.

“I
want to thank the entire ULA team, and the phenomenal teamwork of our mission
partners.”

ULA utilized the most powerful version of the Atlas V – dubbed
551- for the AFSPC-11 mission.

The first stage is powered by Russian-made RD-180 engines
are augmented with 5 Aerojet-Rocketdyne solid rocket motors generating 2.6
million pounds of liftoff thrust.

The second stage is powered by a single RL10C-1 engine
producing 22,900 lb of thrust. The payload is encapsulated inside the short
version of the payload fairing that is 5 m (17 ft) in diameter.

Overall the two stage rocket measures 197
feet tall (60 m). 






The two publicly announced payloads on board are named CBAS
and Eagle and stacked on top of one another inside the 5 meter (17 ft) diameter
payload fairing.

“Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-11, is a multi-manifested
mission,” according to a ULA fact sheet.

“The forward spacecraft is referred to as CBAS (Continuous
Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM) and the aft spacecraft is EAGLE (ESPA Augmented
GEO Laboratory Experiment).”

“Managed by the Military
Satellite Communications Directorate of the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile
Systems Center, the CBAS Satellite is a military satellite communications
spacecraft destined for geosynchronous orbit to provide communications relay
capabilities to support our senior leaders and combatant commanders,” the Air
Force said in a statement. 

“The mission of CBAS is to
augment existing military satellite communications capabilities and broadcast
military data continuously through space-based, satellite communications relay
links.”

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, National
Security, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more
space and mission
reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer –
ken
at kenkremer.com

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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