April 24, 2018

Photos: Atlas 5 rocket blasts off for U.S. Air Force

An Atlas 5 rocket rumbled into space Saturday evening after lifting off from Cape Canaveral with multiple U.S. Air Force communications and tech demo satellites, and brilliant clear skies made for ideal viewing conditions shortly before sunset.

Powering off the launch pad with 2.6 million pounds of thrust, the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off at 7:13 p.m. EDT (2313 GMT) with the U.S. Air Force’s Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM satellite and an experimental payload-carrier named EAGLE.

The Atlas 5 rocket aimed to place its satellite passengers into a circular orbit more than 24,000 miles (about 39,000 kilometers) above the equator, a trip that was expected to take around six hours.

These photos captured from multiple viewing points around Cape Canaveral show the 197-foot-tall (60-meter) Atlas 5 taking off in its most powerful configuration, with five solid rocket boosters adding to the thrust of the launcher’s RD-180 main engine.

Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now

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