ULA Atlas V – AEHF-5 Mission

ULA is poised to launch a communications satellite for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center early Thursday morning. This is the fifth satellite of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) series, built by Lockheed Martin. These satellites provide jam-proof and highly secure communication for the military. Atlas V rockets have listed the past four AEHF satellites into orbit in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2018.

ULA will fly the Atlas V in its 551 configuration.

  • kerosene-fueled common core booster
  • five solid rocket boosters
  • hydrogen-fueled Centaur upper stage
  • payload is encapsulated in a 5m payload fairing

This will be ULA’s 80th launch of an Atlas V rocket since its inauguration in 2002 and the 10th flight of an Atlas V rocket in the 551 configuration. ULA has a 100% mission success rate and we all hope they continue this trend with the AEHF-5 launch tomorrow.

Liftoff will be from Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41)at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Rocket and Payload are assembled on top of a Mobile Launch Platform inside the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) which is located adjacent to the launch pad. Once ready for the launch, the Mobile Launch Platform makes its way to the pad by rail. As many of the pads here at Cape Canaveral, this is an old pad and was originally constructed for the Titan rocket program. Now rejuvenated to launch ULA’s Atlas rockets and soon the Vulcan Centaur.

SLC-41 is also the northern-most pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Only the two sister pads LC-39A and LC-39B at the Kennedy Space Center are located further north.

Photos of the whole mission progress can be found at ULA’s Flickr page, which I embedded below.

Launch Window

Currently, the launch is scheduled for August 8, 2019, and the launch window will open at 5:44 a.m. There is a two-hour launch window for the AEHF-5 mission tomorrow.

Rocket, Pad, and Range are GO for tomorrows launch. There is however a 20% chance of violating weather constraints. After a heavy thunderstorm rolled over the Cape less than 24 hours prior to launch. Let’s hope the weather is a GO tomorrow and we will have a successful launch of ULA’s

If you want to follow the launch tomorrow join the webcast embedded below or follow ULA on social media at @ulalaunch.

Launch of the ULA Atlas V

During the countdown to it’s original launch time at 5:44 a.m. EDT, the team encountered an anomaly in the first stage of the rocket. The 4-Minute hold was extended to find a solution. After the team was able to verify a solution, a new T-0 was set for 6:13 a.m. EDT. No further anomalies were encountered after lifting the hold and polling. Atlas V successfully lifted off at 6:13 a.m. EDT and deployed the fifth and final AEHF satellite into its orbit.

Pre-Launch and Launch Photos of the AEHF-5 Mission

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