SMC Commander Lt. Gen. Thompson: “The AEHF launch is one of those we consider absolutely mission essential.”
Air Force awards $98.5 million ‘completion contract’ to ULA for launch services for three Atlas 5 missions
The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center announced Oct. 1 it has awarded a $98.5 million contract to United Launch Alliance to complete three Atlas 5 missions scheduled to launch in 2020.
On the way to its target orbit, the Atlas’ Centaur upper stage rocket released a cubesat that was riding as a secondary payload.
An Atlas 5 carrying AEHF-5 lifted off at 6:13 AM EST from Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The Air Force integrated a 12U cubesat on the Centaur’s aft bulkhead carrier.
The anomaly was detected during a routine mission assurance check.
Discarded Atlas 5 upper stage breaks up in orbit • Viasat, China Satcom partner on IFC • Hughes signs Jupiter-3 customer
The reason for the Atlas 5 upper stage break up, believed to have occurred between March 23 and March 25, is not yet known.
This was ULA’s eighth launch this year, the 131st since the company was formed in 2006, and will be its 50th launch for the U.S. Air Force.
United Launch Alliance beat out SpaceX and Arianespace to win a launch contract for an upcoming Viasat satellite.
The recent launch boom on Florida’s Space Coast is creating some headaches for the companies involved, as well as for NASA and the U.S. Air Force.
United Launch Alliance plans to increase its activities in the commercial launch market using both the current Atlas and future Vulcan rockets, while acknowledging that the U.S. government will remain its major customer for the foreseeable future.