The U.S. Space Force is scheduled to release its first challenge to area in a -hour window beginning at 2:57 p.M. ET on Thursday from Cape Canaveral, sending a communications satellite tv for pc into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Per the Orlando Sentinel, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite tv for pc onboard (AEHF-6) is the remaining in a $15 billion software and could be used to guide the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, as well as at ease communications for the U.S. Military and a number of its allies. If all goes as deliberate, the kind of 13,six hundred-pound (about 6,a hundred and seventy kilograms), $850 million AEHF satellite will orbit at around 22,2 hundred miles (approximately 36,000 kilometers) above the Earth in a geostationary orbit, joining five previous AEHF satellites launched considering that 2010.

The Space Force, which is technically still prepared beneath the auspices of the Air Force, examined an intercontinental ballistic missile remaining month; it’s additionally anticipated to absorb the Space Development Agency, which is launching a constellation of masses of surveillance satellites.AEHF satellites have low bandwidth but are designed to hold providing communications abilties in opposition to signal jamming or in intense eventualities like nuclear battle; the six in orbit will supposedly offer redundancy in the occasion every other country tries to shoot them down. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin says they’re a main development on their predecessor, the 26-yr-antique Milstar machine.

“Individual consumer facts prices will be multiplied five-fold, permitting transmission of tactical navy communications, along with actual-time video, battlefield maps and focused on statistics,” a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told Popular Mechanics. “In addition to its tactical mission, AEHF assures the essential included communications hyperlinks for country wide leaders, such as the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff, in all stages of conflict.”

According to Spaceflight Now, ULA and military officers say that the continued coronavirus pandemic has now not affected operations and that personnel will practice social distancing to minimize feasible exposure. That means between a 5th and 1 / 4 of the personnel commonly available for a release will not be bodily present. ULA groups are undergoing prep including launch day checkouts and filling the rocket with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants, even as the launch window has an 80 percent threat of favorable weather, Spaceflight Now pronounced. The U.S. Has seen minimal coronavirus-related delays to its area application in evaluation to Europe, which suspended operations at its French Guiana launch center this month.

The Space and Missile Systems Center informed SpaceFlight Now in a assertion that similarly to AEHF-6, the rocket will bring a small TDO 2 satellite based on a 12U CubeSat as a way to “assist area area attention through optical calibration and satellite laser ranging.” It added that TDO 2 will be released approximately 31 minutes after liftoff, while the AEHF-6 satellite tv for pc received’t be launched until around 5 hours, 41 mins submit launch.

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