United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully carried the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) mission into orbit for the U.S. Air Force on an Atlas V rocket that took off early Wednesday morning from Cape Canaveral.
This rocket used was an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 551 configuration vehicle standing at 197 feet tall, and equipped with a 5-meter large payload fairing.
AEHF-4 marks ULA’s 50th launch for the U.S. Air Force dating back to the Space Test Program-1 (STP-1) mission launched in March 2007.
“Over the past 12 years, the men and women of ULA have reliably delivered dozens of Air Force payloads into orbit from GPS to WGS, and SBIRS to AEHF,” Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, said in a statement. “ULA’s unprecedented 100 percent launch success has directly contributed to our national security. Congratulations to the entire launch team on a successful 50th launch for the U.S. Air Force.”
Lockheed Martin [LMT] is on contract with the Air Force to deliver the fifth and sixth AEHF satellites and upgraded the Mission Planning ground system. Lockheed Martin contributed payload system engineering, mission control ground software, solar arrays and the LM A2100 spacecraft bus platform, which is designed for commercial, civil and military satellites. All AEHF satellites are assembled at Lockheed’s Sunnyvale, Calif. facility.
ULA is a joint venture of Boeing [BA] and Lockheed Martin.