ULA Atlas V Poised for Twilight Liftoff with Nuclear Hardened AEHF-5 Milcomsat for US Air Force: Watch Live

A United Launch
Alliance
Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-5 milcomsat for the U.S. Air Force is poised for twilight liftoff to GTO on Aug.
8, 2019 at 5:44 a.m. ET from
Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, Florida on a national security mission
. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Ken
Kremer —
SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
– 7 August 2019


CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL – In what
will be the second of two rare back to back launches from the Eastern range,
the most powerful version of the
venerable Atlas V rocket manufactured by
rocket builder United Launch
Alliance (ULA
)   is poised
for overnight in twilight, Thursday, Aug.8, with
the nuclear hardened AEHF-5 military
communications satellite connecting commanders with troops in the field for the U.S. Air Force.



The launch weather outlook
is good despite another day of awful torrential downpours and lightning strikes
today, Aug. 7, which delayed some launch processing activities.  



Launch of the ULA Atlas V carrying AEHF-5 is slated for a window
that opens at 5:44 a.m. EDT (0944 GMT) EDT Thursday,
Aug. 8
from seaside Space
Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.

Up close view of the RUAG space nose cone atop the ULA Atlas V rocket housing the AEHF-5 milcomsat for the U.S. Air Force is poised for twilight liftoff on Aug. 8, 2019
at 5:44 a.m. ET from
Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,
Florida on a national security mission
. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The rapid fire launches by SpaceX and ULA were
enabled after the Air Force and Eastern Range approved SpaceX’s last minute
request to insert their Falcon 9 launch just 36 hours ahead of the already
approved ULA Atlas V launch.



The SpaceX Falcon 9 did successfully launch
on Aug. 6 as planned after a 30 minute weather delay. Read our story and
photos.



Enjoy our Space UpClose launch pad view photos
of the Atlas V rocket
during our media camera setup
opportunity this afternoon which was nearly scrubbed by the terrible weather
and phase 2 lightning condition. 

A United Launch
Alliance
Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-5 milcomsat for the U.S. Air Force is poised for twilight liftoff to GTO on Aug.
8, 2019 at 5:44 a.m. ET from
Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, Florida on a national security mission
. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
The
cost of the Lockheed Martin built AEHF-5 satellite years in the making and
critical for U.S. national security and our troops is about $1.2 Billion
The prior satellite in the AEHF constellation
namely AEHF-4 launched on a ULA Atlas 551 vehicle in Oct. 2018. See our Space
UpClose photos.
AEHF-5 is the fifth in
line of a jam-resistant six-satellite constellation vital for U.S. National
Defense joining four others already in orbit.
A United Launch
Alliance
Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-5 milcomsat for the U.S. Air Force is poised for twilight liftoff to GTO on Aug.
8, 2019 at 5:44 a.m. ET from
Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, Florida on a national security mission
. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

ULA will
fly their workhorse Atlas V rocket in the commanding 551 configuration to
launch the secure AEHF-5 milsatcom for Air Force Space Command.



The 551 configuration includes a LOX & RP-1 kerosene-fueled
common core booster, a five
-meter-diameter
payload fairing built by RUAG Space, five first stage strap-on AJ-60A solid rocket
motors and a single engine LOX & LH2 fueled Centaur upper stage. 

The Atlas V will deliver AEHF-5 to
geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) on a specialized trajectory to minimize the
spacecrafts subsequent orbit adjusting maneuvers. 



The 197-foot-tall (60 m) ULA Atlas V rocket journeyed 1,800 feet (1/3
mile) to pad 41 Tuesday morning Aug. 6 from 9 to 10 a.m. ET as I watch from a
distance in Titusville. See our photos.



It was pushed by two trackmobiles from the Vertical
Integration Facility (VIF) to the Space Launch Complex 41 pad on the Florida
Space Coast – just two hours after the SpaceX Falcon 9 was raised at adjacent
pad 40 just about 1.5 miles away.



ULA plans live countdown updates at their
countdown page starting Wednesday evening

The live ULA webcast of Thursday’s launch begins
at 5:24 a.m. EDT about 20 minutes before planned liftoff and will be viewable
on the ULA Home Page. 



The ULA Webcast is available at:  www.ulalaunch.com and www.youtube.com/unitedlaunchalliance


The launch countdown
will begin today. 



If all goes well liftoff
happens nearly seven hours later just before dawn
at 5:44 a.m. EDT (0944 GMT) EDT Thursday, Aug. 8. 


The launch window
extends for two hours until 7:44 a.m. EDT (1144 GMT).



The weather forecast
is currently quite good with an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions at
launch time.
 


AEHF-5 is the fifth communications satellite in the Advanced
Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) series for U.S. Air Force
Space Command.



AEHF-5 counts as the newest and most advanced US Air Force jam-resistant
protected military communications satellite, and will play a vital role in U.S.
national security.



AEHF provides survivable, 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.



The AEHF constellation “provides 10 times the throughput and a
substantial increase in coverage compared to the 1990s-era Milstar satellites”
that it replaces and are currently in orbit. 



The satellite was built by
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). 




This will be 134th mission for ULA
since the company was founded in 2006 and the 50th launch for the Air Force. It
is the 80th for an Atlas V rocket and the 10th in the 551 configuration. 


Atlas V rockets successfully launched the
first four AEHF satellites in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2018.

Dr Ken Kremer/Space UpClose interview with Spectrum News 13
about SpaceX AMOS-17 and ULA AEHF-5 back to back launches Aug. 6 and 8, 2019.
Screenshot: Ken Kremer/Spectrum 13

Stay tuned. 


Ken will be onsite at the Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station for live reporting of the ULA AEHF-5 mission launch.



Watch for Ken’s
continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin,
Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy
Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight
Facility, Virginia.



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, 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



Ken’s upcoming outreach events:


Aug 7/8: Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, FL, evenings.  Learn more about the upcoming/recent SpaceX AMOS-17, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-18 launch
to ISS,
NASA Orion Ascent-2 Abort test 
Falcon Heavy, NASA 2024
Moon landing goal, SpaceX Starlink-1,
SpaceX Demo-1 launch/test failure, SpaceX Beresheet launch, NASA missions, ULA Atlas & Delta launches,
Northrop Grumman Antares, SpySats and more
 


Ken will display his photos for sale






Artists concept of AEHF satellites in orbit. Credit:
Lockheed Martin


Ken Kremer

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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