CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Even during a global pandemic, US national security launches must continue. On Thursday, the United Launch Alliance plans to launch its first communications satellite for the now US space force, and it is designed to help troops around the world.
An Atlas V rocket will blast off Thursday after 2:57 p.m., sometime during a two-hour window, with the Sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency, or AEHF, satellite for the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. The rocket is at Space Launch Complex-41
Weather officers with the US Air Force predict an 80% risk of good lifting conditions on Thursday. If the launch delays until Friday, conditions will improve slightly to 90%. The main problem both days is cloud cover.
According to ULA, there are 121 opportunities to launch during the two-hour window on Thursday.
The AEHF satellite system was developed by Lockheed Martin and provides strategic command communications and to all US military branch soldiers around the world. This is the last satellite in the constellation.
It takes hundreds of people to see a launch for a successful mission, between launch operators, weather technicians, communications, security personnel, the environment, security forces and others, according to the commander of the 45th Space Wing Brig. General Doug Schiess. U.S. The Air Force’s 45th spacecraft monitors the eastern area.
On Tuesday, Schiess answered questions from reporters about how the coronavirus pandemic could affect the launch schedule in the coming months, but currently he described operations as “business as usual” with some minor changes limiting team interactions.
“We work very closely with (support contractors) to make sure we have everything we need to do from a basic support point of view to our launch suppliers, to everyone who enables the launch mission and so much and much coordination. But for now, we don’t expect that we don’t expect any problems, “Schiess said.” Everyone seems to be doing the same thing to try to continue the mission. “
As launching activities continue for the public, viewing options for people will be affected. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls on people to avoid parishes of 10 or more and maintain social distance. COVID-19 is highly contagious and Florida has more than 1,400 confirmed cases and rises as of Tuesday morning.
Popular rocket surveillance sites, including Space View Park in Titusville and Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral, are closed. The beaches of Brevard and Volusia counties are open but that may not be the case by Thursday.
The 45th Space Wing will not allow guests to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for viewing the launch and the public viewing area outside the gates of State Road 401 next to the Banana River will also be closed due to COVID-19.
The good news is that if you have a clear view you can see the launch from most locations in Central Florida and ULA will provide a livestream with HD views. News 6 and Clickorlando.com will also carry the launch live.
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