September 20, 2019

Photos: Atlas 5 puts on predawn sky show


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Streaking away from Cape Canaveral less than an hour before sunrise Wednesday, an Atlas 5 launcher painted a memorable spectacle in the skies over Florida, catching the first rays of the morning as it rocketed out of the stratosphere with a U.S. Navy communications satellite.

The 20-story rocket blasted off at 6:18 a.m. EDT (1018 GMT) with the fourth in a series of Navy-owned spacecraft to facilitate better communications links betweens U.S. forces on the move.

Fitted with five strap-on solid rocket boosters and a kerosene-fueled RD-180 main engine, the Atlas 5 quickly sped away from Cape Canaveral, displaying a turbulent plume of bright white exhaust as it climbed into the rarefied upper atmosphere.

Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
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Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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