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ULA delays the launch of Atlas 5 in August – Spaceflight Now

Photo of a record of a launch of Atlas 5 last year carrying the US Air Force's fourth EHF advanced communications satellite. The next flight of the Atlas 5, scheduled for August 8 at the earliest, will aim to launch the fifth AEHF relay satellite of the Air Force. Credit: United Launch Alliance

United Launch Alliance postpones its next launch of Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral until August 8, giving engineers time to make sure that an unspecified anomaly during component testing in a provider will have no impact on the mission of the Atlas 5 to implant a US market. An Air Force communications satellite in orbit.

ULA announced the delay Thursday, citing "an anomaly in the testing of components at a supplier that has created cross-concern."

The Atlas 5 rocket was scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday, July 17, with the Air Force's fifth advanced EHF communications satellite.

"It takes more time for the team to examine the component's abnormality and determine if corrective actions are needed on the launcher," ULA said in a brief statement.

United Launch Alliance did not identify the vendor or component responsible for the delay, which follows a previous postponement of the initial launch date of Atlas 5 of June 27 to replace a failed battery.

ULA has also not announced the time of its launch attempt on August 8, but a countdown to that date should have a two-hour window opening around 5:50 am (EDT) ( 0950 GMT).

The AEHF 5 communications satellite was encapsulated in the payload fairing of the Atlas 5 rocket in early June at the Astrotech payload processing facilities in Florida. Credit: Lockheed Martin

The Atlas 5 rocket is fully assembled inside the Vertical Integration Center, or VIF, at the launch pad of Cape Canaveral Complex 41. After the arrival of the first stage of Atlas 5 at VIF in May, the workers installed the Centaur upper stage of the rocket, five powerful thrusters and the fascia of the payload of the Atlas 5 containing the spacecraft AEHF 5 built by Lockheed Martin.

The launch of the AEHF 5 satellite comes after the launch of four previous AEHF spacecraft in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2018, all on Atlas 5 rockets.

The US military, the president and other government officials rely on the AEHF network for video, voice and secure data communications. The AEHF satellites have a harder time operating in a nuclear war and are resistant to blockages, allowing for reliable global links between strategic forces and commanders 24 hours a day.

The military forces of Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom also have access to the AEHF satellite network.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.

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