— SpaceUpClose.com — 16 October 2018
AIR FORCE STATION, FL – All systems are GO for tonights post midnight
liftoff of the jam resistant AEHF-4 military communications satellite for the
U.S. Air Force on Wednesday, October 17 on the most powerful version of the
venerable Atlas V rocket manufactured by rocket builder United Launch
spectacularly loud as this mightiest variant of the ULA Atlas V is soaring from
the Florida with a walloping 2.7 million pounds of thrust augmented by five add
on solid rocket boosters and near perfect weather conditions making for lengthy
viewing opportunities as the rocket arcs over to Africa.
fly their workhorse Atlas V rocket in the commanding 551 configuration to
launch the secure AEHF-4 milsatcom for Air Force Space Command shortly after
midnight on October 17 at 12:15 a.m. EDT (0415 GMT) from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.
my gallery of up close launch pad photos for Space UpClose during our media
camera setup opportunity this afternoon.
common core booster, a five-meter-diameter payload fairing built by RUAG
Space, five first stage strap-on solid rocket motors and a single engine LOX
& LH2 fueled Centaur upper stage.
The Atlas V will deliver AEHF-4 to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO)
on a specialized trajectory to minimize the spacecrafts subsequent orbit adjusting
trajectory tonight,” tweeted ULA CEO Tory Bruno.
our orbits are customized. This is a GTO, but we will coast for several hours
out to apogee and then do a major lift of the perigee. This will leave the
spacecraft with only a small amout of remaining energy to add in order to
mile) to pad 41 yesterday morning Monday Oct. 15 as it was pushed by two
trackmobiles from the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) to the Space Launch
Complex 41 pad on the Florida Space Coast.
The launch countdown
will begin today, Tuesday Oct. 16 at 5:25 p.m. EDT (2125 GMT).
If all goes well liftoff
happens nearly seven hours later just after midnight at 12:15 a.m. EDT (0415
GMT) on Wednesday, Oct. 17.
The launch window extends for two hours until
2:25 a.m. EDT (0615 GMT).
ULA plans live countdown updates at their
countdown page starting Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. EDT.
The live ULA webcast of the launch Tuesday begins
at 11:55 p.m. EDT about 20 minutes before planned liftoff and will be viewable
on the ULA Home Page.
is currently quite good with an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions at
Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) series for U.S. Air Force Space Command.
newest and most advanced US Air Force jam-resistant protected military
communications satellite, and will play a vital role in U.S. national security.
global, highly secure, protected, and jam-resistant communications for
high-priority military ground, sea, and air assets, between
U.S. national leadership [meaning the President] and deployed military forces, says USAF Space Command.
times the throughput and a substantial increase in coverage compared to the
1990s-era Milstar satellites” that it replaces and are currently in
prime contractor Lockheed Martin at the satellite integration facility in
Sunnyvale, California, based on the A 2100 series communications satellite
spacecraft model and has a mass of some 6100 kg (13600 pounds).
marks a significant milestone in fulfilling our communication commitment to the
highest priority Department of Defense ground, sea, and air missions.
It’s an important asset for the warfighter and will be employed for years to
come,” said Lt. Gen. John Thompson, Space and Missiles Systems Center
commander and Air Force program executive officer for space, in a statement.
satellite rolled out from a Titusville processing facility to its Cape
Canaveral launch pad in the dead of night Friday Oct. 5 for integration with
the mighty United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket that will propel it to
geostationary orbit (GEO) on October 17.
Advanced Extremely High Frequency-4 (AEHF-4)
jam-resistant national security military communications satellite for U.S. Air
Force Space Command is encapsulated in 5 meter RUAG Space payload fairing as it
rolls overnight Oct. 5, 2018 with convoy from Astrotech processing facility,
Titusville, FL on public highways to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL for
upcoming night launch Oct. 17, 2018 on most powerful variant of United Launch
Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
observed the AEHF-4 convoy travel along public locations on Rt. 405 towards the
Cape – here and in our earlier story.
This will be 131st mission for ULA since the
company was founded in 2006 and the 50th launch for the Air Force. It is the
79th for an Atlas V rocket and the 9th in the 551 configuration.
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,
and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
scientist and journalist based in the KSC area.
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and space outreach events
Oct 16-17: Learn more about the Soyuz abort and
upcoming/recent ULA/USAF AEHF-4 milsatcom, NASA/ULA Parker Solar Probe, SpaceX
Merah Putih & Telstar 18 & 19 launches, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-15 launch to
ISS, Falcon Heavy, NASA TESS, GOES-S, NASA missions, ULA Atlas &
Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at
Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings. Photos for
Speed boat races by after United Launch Alliance
(ULA) Atlas V rocket with the AEHF-4 milcomsat for the U.S. Air Force rolled from
the VIF to launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, Florida, on Oct. 15, 2018 for Oct. 17 liftoff. Credit: Ken