Space Force plans first launch Thursday from Florida

US Space Force to Launch AEHF-6 for Protected SATCOMs

Space Force Will Be Launched On Thursday

The launch today is set to take off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, with a lift-off time set for 2:57 PM EDT (11:57 AM PDT).

The Space Force made its first launch on Thursday when the US military's Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

A single AEHF satellite is more powerful than the entire MILSTAR constellation it replaces.

The AEHF-6 satellite will provide "vastly improved global, survivable, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms", Lockheed Martin wrote on its website.

Beyond that, SpaceX was slated to launch a batch of 60 more Starlink communications satellites in mid-April, but it remains to be seen if the company will be able to fly given the rapidly changing pandemic.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket emblazoned with the Space Force chevron logo carried the satellite toward orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Stations Complex 41. That's the new space-focused arm of the US military that was officially formed a year ago, in response to what the administration has characterized as a growing need to ensure America's assets in space are properly defended. The new Space Force seal adorned the United Launch Alliance rocket.

Argentinian officials cited travel restrictions as the reason for the delayed launch of the Earth observation satellite.

A UAL webcast from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida showed the Atlas V rocket - its first stage powered by a Russian made RD-180 with five strapped on boosters - soaring over the Atlantic shortly after the afternoon launch, trailed by clouds of frozen exhaust.

The European Space Agency also said Tuesday that it is putting eight of its spacecraft into hibernation as it scales down operations during the coronavirus outbreak.

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