September 21, 2021

Photos: A look back at last weekend’s Atlas 5 launch


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The most powerful configuration of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket blasted off April 14 from Cape Canaveral, hauling multiple U.S. Air Force satellites to a perch high above the equator after piercing a clear evening sky over Florida’s Space Coast with 2.6 million pounds of thrust.

The 197-foot-tall (60-meter) rocket, boosted by an RD-180 main engine and five strap-on solid rocket motors, lifted off at 7:13 p.m. EDT (2313 GMT) on April 14 from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad.

These images show the Atlas 5 rocket climbing away from the launch pad, heading east over the Atlantic Ocean on a mission the Air Force codenamed AFSPC 11. It carried a military communications satellite and a tech demo experiment carrier into geostationary orbit.

Read our full story for details on the mission.

Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni/Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now
Credit: Walter Scriptunas II/Spaceflight Now

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