Atlas V Boosts Third AEHF to Orbit

An Atlas V rocket carrying the third AEHF military communications satellite lifts off on Sept. 18. (Photo: United Launch Alliance, LLC)

An Atlas V rocket boosted the third Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communications satellite to orbit on Wednesday morning, Sept. 18.

From Cape Canaveral, Ray Johnson, vice president of Space Launch Operations, said, “I’m very pleased to announce the successful launch of Atlas V and its AEHF-3 satellite. The vehicle lifted off of Space Launch Complex 41 here at the Cape at 4:10 a.m. (ET) this morning.”

Johnson noted that the launch was delayed a little over an hour because of weather issues. However, “once the weather problem cleared and we launched, it was a very clean flight with no issues.”

Johnson thanked and congratulated both the Atlas and AEHF teams “for this outstanding success.”

The AEHF constellation is a joint-service satellite communications system that will provide survivable, global, secure, protected, and jam-resistant communications. Aerospace has provided crucial support to the AEHF program since its conception as a successor to the Milstar constellation.

The pre-dawn launch was United Launch Alliance’s 75th since it began operations in December 2006 and the 40th mission for an Atlas V rocket since August 2002.

The rocket flew in the 531 configuration with a 5-meter diameter payload fairing, three solid rocket boosters, and one engine in its Centaur upper stage.