United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Communications Satellite For The U.S. Air Force Space And Missile Systems Center

Image Credit: United Launch Alliance

August 11, 2019 – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on August 8 at 6:13 a.m. EDT. This marked the 80th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, which has successfully launched and precisely delivered the entire AEHF constellation on orbit. ULA has a track record of 100 percent mission success with 134 successful launches.

“The ULA and supplier teams continue to demonstrate the highest dedication to mission success as we overcame several technical issues during the last few weeks,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “Thank you to the entire team and our government mission partners for the outstanding partnership and teamwork to deliver these critical payloads to orbit.”

Producing more than two and a half million pounds of thrust at liftoff, the Atlas V 551 configuration rocket is the most powerful in the Atlas V fleet. The 551 rocket has launched groundbreaking missions for our nation—from the critically important MUOS constellation to historic science missions including New Horizons, the first mission to Pluto and the Juno mission to Jupiter.

The AEHF system, developed by Lockheed Martin, provides vastly improved global, survivable, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters.

This mission launched aboard an Atlas V 551 configuration vehicle, including a 5-meter large Payload Fairing (PLF) and standing at 197 ft. tall. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine. Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the five AJ-60A solid rocket boosters (SRBs) and RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage.

ULA’s next launch is the GPS III SV02 mission for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center aboard the final Delta IV Medium rocket. The launch is scheduled for August 22 at Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 130 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.