— SpaceUpClose.com — 20 October 2018
AIR FORCE STATION, FL – The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket put
on an absolutely awesome display of fire and fury instantly turning night into
day just past midnight Wednesday upon blastoff of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-4) national security communications satellite for
the U.S. Air Force maintaining global relay connectivity of American & Allied troops and
commanders in worst case scenario of nuclear war.
The 20-story tall ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the $1.8 Billion Lockheed Martin
built AEHF-4 military satcom mission for the U.S. Air Force Space Command
lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 moments after midnight Oct. 17 at 12:15
a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.
and a half hours after liftoff AEHF-4 was released from the Centaur upper stage
and successfully delivered the 6.8 ton behemoth to geostationary transfer orbit
orbit raising thrust firings over the next few weeks AEHF-4 will operate in geostationary
orbit circling 22,300
miles (36000 kilometers) above Earth.
all the exquisite action through our exclusive Space UpClose gallery of photos
and videos stationed at the Cape and the launch pad. Check back as the gallery
our complete launch story here.
AEHF-4 is fourth in
line of a jam-resistant six-satellite constellation vital for U.S. National
Defense joining three others already in orbit.
The satellite was encapsulated inside a RUAG Space
built short payload fairing (PLF) – approximately 5.4 meters (17-feet) in
diameter and 20.7 meters (68-feet) tall for the ride to orbit.
The 197 foot tall (60 m) workhorse
Atlas V rocket launched in the commanding 551 configuration which comprises a
LOX & RP-1 kerosene-fueled common core booster powered by a Russian-made
RD-180 main engine, a five-meter-diameter payload fairing built by RUAG
Space in Switzerland, five first stage strap-on solid rocket motors built by
Aerojet-Rocketdyne and a single RL-10C engine LOX & LH2 fueled Centaur
The nuclear hardened AEHF
satellites provide secure, protected communications that instantly connect US warfighters
on the ground across the globe with military commanders and top US leadership
including the President to control their tactical and strategic forces in times of peace and wartime
needs critical to US survival.
The highly advanced
satellites are designed to withstand fierce radiation pummeling in nightmare
scenarios from enemy nuclear attacks.
Watch my launch video here to experience the sound and fury Up Close at the launch pad:
Extremely High Frequency AEHF-4 jam resistant
military communications satellite for US Air Force Space Command shortly after
midnight Oct. 17, 2018,
12:15 a.m. ET from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,
Florida on US national security mission – as seen in
this video camera stationed at pad. Credit: Ken
equipped with 2 SHF Downlink Phased Arrays, 2 Crosslinks, 2 Uplink/Downlink
Nulling Antennas, 1 Uplink EHF Phased Array, 6 Uplink/Downlink Gimbaled
Dish Antenna, 1 Each Uplink/downlink earth coverage horns.
ranges from 75 bps to approximately 8 Mbps.
The AEHF system includes
international partners from the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands.
Launch of AEHF-4. Credit: Ken
Watch for Ken’s
continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin,
Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space
Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility,
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science
and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research
scientist and journalist based in the KSC area.