The Azerbaijan State News Agency


US Air Force to Launch Advanced Military Satellite

Baku, May 5 (AZERTAC). The second Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, AEHF 2, is prepared for launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Liftoff set for May 3, 2012.

A gleaming new spacecraft valued at over $1 billion to serve in the top-notch mission of providing the president and military leaders a secure and survivable communications link in wartime was mounted atop its Atlas 5 rocket at Cape Canaveral today.

The second Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, AEHF 2, is scheduled for blastoff on Thursday, May 3, two days earlier than expected because the Eastern Range suddenly became available.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle on its voyage to the International Space Station had planned to go during an instantaneous liftoff opportunity April 30, with a backup launch date of May 3 to rendezvous with the outpost. That drove the earliest Range slot for the Atlas to May 5.

However, lingering problems forced SpaceX to again delay its long-awaited cargo-delivery demonstration trip to the station, scrapping any plans to launch next week and putting the Atlas first in line for blastoff from Cape Canaveral.

The Air Force-controlled Range provides all of the necessary tracking, communications and safety services for Cape launches, and needs time in between flights to reset equipment in support of the next booster in the lineup.

The Atlas launch window on May 3 extends from 2:46 to 4:46 p.m. EDT (1846-2046 GMT). But despite the uncertainty on exactly when the Atlas would take its aim at space, preparations have been progressing by the United Launch Alliance rocket team. Technicians today accomplished one of the key milestones left before liftoff when AEHF 2 took a middle-of-the-night road trip from the commercially-run Astrotech satellite processing campus in Titusville to the launch site aboard a trailer-like transporter.

The slow-moving drive crossed the river, went northward through Kennedy Space Center, passed by the Vehicle Assembly Building and the old space shuttle launch pad before cruising down along the beach to the Atlas rocket's Vertical Integration Facility.

AEHF 2's launch campaign at the Cape began when the craft was delivered Feb. 13 from Lockheed Martin's factory in Sunnyvale, California, arriving inside an Air Force transport aircraft. The shipping crate was taken to Astrotech where the craft was unboxed for final testing, loaded with maneuvering propellants and encapsulated in the rocket's nose cone.

After pulling up to the doorway of the Vertical Integration Facility this morning, technicians went to work attaching the heavy-duty lifting sling to hoist the spacecraft in the bullet-shaped fairing off the ground and atop the Centaur upper stage.

The United Launch Alliance-made rocket was assembled inside the VIF aboard a mobile launching platform over the past month. It was wheeled out to the launch pad one-third-of-a-mile away two weeks ago for a countdown dress rehearsal and fueling exercise before returning to the building to await the satellite installation.

Mating of the payload to the rocket was underway this afternoon, followed by work to affix the nose cone's ogive section to the lower base of the fairing.

Functional checks of the spacecraft and the combined systems test between AEHF and the Atlas vehicle were expected to occur klast week to verify the payload and rocket are talking to each other properly.

The Advanced Extremely High Frequency 2 satellite, AEHF 2, is shown encapsulated in its nose cone fairing just before being mated to its Atlas 5 rocket ahead of a May 2012 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The fully stacked rocket, now standing 196 feet tall, features a main stage fed with refined kerosene and liquid oxygen, three strap-on solid propellant boosters, the liquid hydrogen-powered cryogenic Centaur upper stage and a composite payload shroud 16 feet in diameter.

Rollout to the pad for flight will occur the day prior to liftoff, leading to the 7-hour countdown sequence picking up on launch morning.

will take the Atlas just over 51 minutes to heave the cargo, weighing nearly 7 tons, into a highly elliptical supersynchronous transfer orbit with a high point of 31,070 statute miles, low point of 140 statute miles and inclination about 21 degrees to the equator.

Controllers plan to spend 100 days or so using the craft's conventional and exotic electric propulsion systems to circularize the orbit 22,300 miles high and reduce inclination to 4.8 degrees for months-long testing in view of the U.S.

The first AEHF satellite, launched in August 2010, suffered an accidental clogging of plumbing to its main engine, prompting a remarkable rescue using smaller thrusters to raise the craft into geosynchronous orbit.

The upcoming craft has been thoroughly checked to ensure a repeat problem does not occur.

Built in a collaboration between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, a series of AEHF spacecraft will replace the aging Milstar satellite fleet. They feature the highest levels of encryption, low probability of intercept and detection, jammer resistance and the ability to penetrate the electro-magnetic interference caused by nuclear weapons.

AEHF was envisioned to keep communications flowing between the military and civilian leadership in any extreme wartime environment, giving the U.S. information superiority. [Top 10 Space Weapons Concepts]

Designers say one AEHF spacecraft has more capacity than the existing five-satellite Milstar constellation combined and its faster data rates will benefit tactical military communications, enabling higher quality maps, targeting data and live video to be transmitted without being detected by the enemy.

Constructed around Lockheed Martin's A2100 satellite model with a 14-year life expectancy, the AEHF satellites feature power-generating solar panels stretching 89 feet tip-to-tip and two antenna-laden deployable wings.

Thursday's ascent will mark United Launch Alliance's 60th rocket flight since forming in 2006 and the 30th mission by the Atlas 5 in its decade-long history.

Share news on social media

Follow us on social network

Azerbaijani diaspora representatives from Kazakhstan visit Fuzuli and Shusha

Female judoka Mammadaliyeva and boxer Abdullayev to carry Team Azerbaijan flag at Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony

Azerbaijan and Israel explore prospects for educational cooperation

Inter Miami issues Lionel Messi injury update after Copa America final

Vietnamese President receives ambassadors of Turkic countries

“Birlestik-2024” international exercise ends

Azerbaijani female shooter earns Paralympic berth

Azerbaijan joins international roundtable on "Islamophobia and Education" in Malaysia

Baku hosts opening ceremony of Congress of Independence Movements from French-colonized territories VIDEO

Italy antitrust targets Armani, Dior after worker exploitation probes

US federal authorities warn of potential violence following Trump assassination attempt

Azerbaijani badminton players win two bronzes in Istanbul Youth Open 2024

Azerbaijan’s cultural capital of Shusha to host Vagif Poetry Days

Luka Modric signs new one-year Real Madrid contract

Azerbaijan`s Guba to host FIBA 3x3 Women's Series 2024

SOCAR and Slovenia`s Geoplin ink MoU on gas supply cooperation

Climate change is making days longer, scientists discover

Euronews: Summer in Azerbaijan has something for everyone

1 million Italians expected to be over 90 years old in next 3 years

® Birbank installment cardholders can now enjoy the option of paying in installments for their Trendyol payments

Centuries-old frescoes at Sumela Monastery in northeastern Türkiye undergo meticulous restoration

New Caledonian FM: We must find solution to steer away from this difficult path at Baku Congress

‘Baku Initiative Group announces scholarship for young people living in French colonies to study in Azerbaijan’ VIDEO

Member of New Caledonian Congress: Suppression of our rights by French state is inadmissible and unacceptable

ADB Approves Support for Rooftop Solar Systems in India

South Sudan faces growing humanitarian crisis, warns WHO

Bulgaria Is among European Countries with Biggest Share of University Graduates with Permanent Contract of Employment

Climate change making days slightly longer: Research

Azerbaijani energy minister meets with World Bank Regional Director for South Caucasus

IMF revises up Turkish economy's 2024 growth forecast to 3.6% from 3.1%

A cave on the moon is confirmed, and scientists suspect hundreds more like it could house future explorers

Magnitude 3.2 quake hits Azerbaijan’s Guba district

Azerbaijani oil price down in global markets

“Birlestik-2024” exercise demonstrates tactical episode, Defense Ministry VIDEO

Leadership of Azerbaijan Defense Ministry continues visit to Kazakhstan

Azerbaijan, Belarus discuss prospects for development of military-technical relations

Elon Musk plans to give $45 million a month to pro-Trump super PAC, WSJ reports

Gareth Southgate resigns as England head coach

® Nar congratulates students on the end of admission exams

Jeyhun Bayramov meets IOM Chief in Azerbaijan to discuss return of IDPs to their homes

Azerbaijan, Italy discuss developing of Middle Corridor and prospects of cooperation

Vaughan Gething resigns as first minister of Wales

® "Bakcell" introduced AI-powered "Tariff Advisor" in its app

® Digital Transformation and the Future of Artificial Intelligence: An Interview with Nariman Asadov

Volcanic activity continues at Mount Etna in Italy

Azerbaijan, Israel discuss energy cooperation

Baku to host 1st Congress of Independence Movements from French-colonized territories

Russia antivirus firm Kaspersky quits US after ban

Events held within “Birlestik-2024” exercise

Germany's rail system gets major overhaul

Rector of Transilvania University of Brașov visits Azerbaijan State University of Economics

Around the world walker set to swim Caspian Sea

Two Azerbaijani karate fighters shine in Kazakhstan Open

Roberta Metsola is re-elected president of European Parliament

Two hikers found dead in U.S. national park amid high temperatures

French superstar Kylian Mbappe signs contract with Real Madrid VIDEO

Azerbaijani rower ready for action in world championship in Bulgaria

IDEA organizes “Let’s protect gazelles!” environmental summer camp

PRCCSF Executive Director: Encouraging Azerbaijan-Pakistan private-sector partnerships will boost investment

Central Bank: $60 m worth of demand fully covered at FX auction

Azerbaijani defense minister visits Kazakhstan VIDEO

Scorching storms on distant worlds revealed

Azerbaijan presents 4th Voluntary National Review at UN headquarters VIDEO

Oil prices down in world markets

Trump makes 1st public appearance after assassination attempt

Kazakhstan’s low-cost carrier FlyArystan increases number of flights from Baku to Aktau

Azerbaijani oil price down in global markets

Spokesperson for US Department of State: Azerbaijan and Armenia have made incredible progress and have come a long way

Türkiye welcomes reopening of Azerbaijan’s embassy in Iran

Azerbaijan, World Bank discuss preparation of Country Partnership Framework for 2025-2029

Russian president’s special envoy: Specific decisions related to shallowing of the Caspian Sea are in preparation

Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission holds regular meeting

Azerbaijan is one of Russia’s main partners, says Russian presidential envoy

Admission of new conscripts in military units continues, Defense Ministry VIDEO

Switzerland playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri ends national-team career after standout goal at Euro 2024

Kuwait announces 'giant' oil discovery

US literary portal publishes poem by Molla Panah Vagif - prominent poet of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission registers authorized representatives from three more political parties

'Serial killer' arrested after bodies found in Kenya dump

Treacherous Coup Attempt: July 15, 2016

Prime Minister Ali Asadov meets with World Bank Regional Director for South Caucasus

ANAMA: 397 unexploded ordnances neutralized over past week

Mazahir Panahov: Central Election Commission registered candidacies of 431 persons for parliamentary seats VIDEO

® Pay off your loans from other banks with favorable offers at Kapital Bank

Sambi Lokonga joins Sevilla on season-long loan

This Bill Gates-backed startup ıs making 'butter' from CO2 ınstead of cows

Kambwala leaves United and joins Villarreal

Egypt to drill oil, gas wells worth 1.2 bln USD in current fiscal year: minister

Azerbaijani mountaineer conquers world’s ninth-highest peak

Investments in Azerbaijan’s oil and gas sector witnessed growth

Argentina logs 520,000 dengue cases

Türkiye’s 1st homegrown satellite completes 3rd ignition in journey towards orbit

Australia not investing enough to prepare for catastrophic affects of H5N1 variant of bird flu, experts warn

Azerbaijani military pilots demonstrate high professionalism in “Birlestik-2024” exercise VIDEO

Azerbaijan, Morocco abolish visa regime

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Agency for State Support to NGOs announce joint grant competition

James scoops Copa America best player award as Martinez seals Golden Boot

Gymnast Gasimli bags another gold for Azerbaijan at Scalabis Cup 2024

Azerbaijan’s population hits 10,197,146

At least 5 killed in bombing targeting a busy café in the Somali capital, police say