September 17, 2021

Photos: Atlas 5 rocket transferred to launch pad in Florida


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EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated with rollout photos.

The Atlas 5 rocket set for launch with the U.S. Air Force’s fourth AEHF communications satellite. Credit: United Launch Alliance

A day-and-a-half before its liftoff with a U.S. Air Force communications satellite, a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket rolled out to its launch pad at Cape Canaveral on Monday morning.

Set to fly in its most powerful configuration with five solid rocket boosters, the Atlas 5 arrived in the starting blocks at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad after a 1,800-foot (550-meter) journey from ULA’s nearby Vertical Integration Facility.

The Air Force’s fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency, or AEHF, communications satellite is fastened on top of the Atlas 5 rocket, inside a 17.7-foot-wide (5.4-meter) nose fairing. Built by Lockheed Martin with a Northrop Grumman-made nuclear-hardened secure communications payload, the AEHF 4 satellite will enable video, voice and data links between government leaders and military commanders.

The AEHF 4 spacecraft joins three previous AEHF satellites launched on Atlas 5 rockets in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

The 197-foot-tall (60-meter) Atlas 5 rocket is set for liftoff in a two-hour window opening at 12:15 a.m. EDT (0415 GMT) Wednesday.

More photos of the Atlas 5’s rollout are posted below.

Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance

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