United Launch Alliance set to launch AEHF-4 for U.S. Air Force


A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is in final preparations to launch the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force. The launch is planned for Oct. 17 at Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The two-hour launch window opens at 12:15 a.m. EDT, and the live launch broadcast will begin Oct. 16 at 11:55 p.m. EDT at www.ulalaunch.com

Producing more than two and a half million pounds of thrust at liftoff, the Atlas V 551 configuration rocket is the most powerful in the Atlas V fleet. The 551 rocket has launched groundbreaking missions for our nation—from the critically important Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) constellation to historic science missions including New Horizons, the first mission to Pluto, and the Juno mission to Jupiter. The Atlas V 551 configuration first launched on Jan. 19, 2006, and has launched eight times to date. 

“ULA continues to serve as our nation’s most dependable and successful launch provider,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “We are proud to launch this critical satellite for the U.S. Air Force, and demonstrate our strong support of our nation’s national defense and the warfighter community.” 

The AEHF system, developed by Lockheed Martin, provides vastly improved global, survivable, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters. 

This mission will launch aboard an Atlas V 551 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter large Payload Fairing (PLF) and stands 197 ft. tall. The Atlas booster for this mission is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine. Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the five AJ-60A solid rocket boosters (SRBs) and RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage. 

To date ULA has a track record of 100% mission success with 130 successful launches.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered 130 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.