ULA preparing for third launch of 2019
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance (ULA) is set to conduct its first Atlas V launch in nearly 10 months with the AEHF-5 mission.
At present the mission is scheduled to get underway on Aug. 8, 2019 at 5:44 a.m. EDT (0944 UTC) from Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The window extends for about two hours, closing at 7:44 a.m. EDT (1144 UTC).
An Atlas V 551 (the 551 configuration has five solid rocket boosters and a five meter diameter payload fairing) has been selected to carry the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite to a customized geostationary transfer orbit. This will be the second AEHF satellite to fly on this configuration of the Atlas V, the first three spacecraft were launched atop the 531 version of the rocket.
The U.S. Air Force expects for the spacecraft to reach its intended orbit in October.
AEHF-5 is not the only satellite hitching a ride to space on Atlas V. A 12U Cubesat will separate from an aft-bulkhead carrier on Centaur shortly after the end of the second burn. This satellite will test new orbital debris tracking technologies.
The Advanced Extremely High Frequency system has been developed as a replacement for Milstar. Milstar was launched in the 1990s and early 2000s on Titan IV rockets. AEHF provides jam-resistant communications for strategic and tactical users and is capable of surviving nuclear war.
Patrick Attwell is a native of Houston, Texas but he currently resides in Austin, Texas where he studies accounting at Concordia University Texas. Atwell has had a passion for all things pertaining to aerospace, rocketry, and aviation. Atwell has worked to cover these fields for more than a decade. After he attended and watched the launch of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission it gave him what is known in the space community as “rocket fever.” Since that time, Atwell has followed his dreams and has covered events dealing with NASA’s Commercial Crew flight assignments at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and other space-related events in the Lone Star State.