Space

WATCH: Space Force Orbits Ultra-Secure Payload

The skies over Eastern Florida were filled with the roar and fury of an Atlas V rocket hurtling into space from Cape Canaveral on Thursday. Thanks to the U.S. Space Force, the American military can be assured of ultra-secure battlefield communications around the globe.

First Space Force launch a complete success

On Thursday, at 4:18 p.m. EDT, engineers at Space Launch Complex-41 hit the ignition switch, blasting an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station all the way into space, proving that despite the coronavirus crisis, it’s “business as usual” for the United States Space Force. The high-tech payload carried by a United Launch Alliance rocket was successfully placed into a stable orbit.

This was the premier rocket launch for the newest branch of our military, created by President Donald Trump. Americans made huge accomplishments in earlier decades, allowing us to be the only nation to send men to the moon. Unfortunately, pressing economic priorities eroded that progress. President Trump decided it’s time to turn the situation around. With the help of the Space Force, America has set it’s sights on Mars.

Thursday’s blast-off carried a “jam resistant” AEHF6 military communications satellite. It was designed by Lockheed Martin and manufactured by Northrup Grumman to utilize the Extremely High Frequency communications band to provide “global coverage for national leaders and tactical warfighters operating on the ground, sea or air.” The equipment will also benefit our allies including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and the Netherlands.

Launched under pandemic restrictions

Thursday’s launch came in the midst of Florida’s declared restrictions against public gatherings, prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. The hundreds of “launch operators, weather engineers, communications, safety personnel, environmental, security forces and others” needed to launch a space flight all diligently practiced social-distancing.

Brigadier General Doug Schiess, Commander of the 45th Space Wing, which is the unit in charge of the Eastern Range, told reporters, “we are working very closely with (support contractors) to make sure that we have everything that we need.” At this time, “we’re not expecting any issues.” Despite the pandemic, it’s “business as usual.” According to the general, “Everyone seems to be doing the same thing, trying to keep the mission going.”

The general public is encouraged to view the launches but this time, “in-person launch viewing options were impacted.” The 45th Space Wing “will not allow guests onto the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for launch viewing,” and the public viewing site just outside the gates was also closed because of gathering restrictions. Other “popular rocket watching spots, including Space View Park in Titusville and Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral are closed.”

Even with the park closures, “if you have a clear view you can see the launch from most places in Central Florida.” For everyone else, there was a high-definition livestream.

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