November 15, 2019

Photos: Atlas 5 blasts off with U.S. Air Force communications payload


If you would like to see more articles like this please support our coverage of the space program by becoming a Spaceflight Now Member. If everyone who enjoys our website helps fund it, we can expand and improve our coverage further.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral on Aug. 8 with the U.S. Air Force’s fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite, the second launch from Florida’s Coast in a span of less than 35 hours.

The 197-foot-tall (60-meter) Atlas 5 launcher lifted off from pad 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:13 a.m. EDT (1013 GMT) on Aug. 8. The Atlas 5’s kerosene-fueled first stage RD-180 engine and five strap-on solid rocket motors produced some 2.6 million pounds of thrust to propel the launcher off the pad.

Around five-and-a-half hours later, the rocket’s Centaur upper stage deployed the Lockheed Martin-built AEHF 5 satellite into a high-energy geostationary transfer orbit. AEHF 5 will join four similar jam-resistant, secure voice, video and data relay satellites in the military’s fleet.

The Atlas 5 launch occurred less than 35 hours after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off from a neighboring launch pad at Cape Canaveral, the shortest span between orbital launches from Florida’s Space Coast since 1981.

These photos were captured by remote cameras at the Atlas 5 launch pad.

Read our full story for details on the mission. See our earlier photo gallery showing the Atlas 5’s picturesque climb into space at dawn.

Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now

Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


If you would like to see more articles like this please support our coverage of the space program by becoming a Spaceflight Now Member. If everyone who enjoys our website helps fund it, we can expand and improve our coverage further.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!