ULA Atlas V Launch Set for Thursday

ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-4 mission for the U.S. Air Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing toward the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch carrying the AEHF-6 mission for the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

The mission is set to lift off on Thursday, March 26 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The two-hour launch window begins at 2:57 p.m. ET.

Live broadcast coverage of launch will begin at 2:37 p.m. ET on March 26. Live launch updates and webcast available at: www.ulalaunch.com.

ULA will use an Atlas V 551 rocket to launch the sixth and final spacecraft in the Lockheed Martin-built Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) series for the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

AEHF satellites provide global, survivable, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. Atlas V rockets successfully launched the first five AEHF satellites between 2010 and 2019.

The AEHF-6 launch will mark the 83rd Atlas V mission since the inaugural launch in 2002 and the 11th in the 551 configuration.

Today’s forecast shows an 80 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch.

Launch Forecast Summary

The initial forecast from Launch Weather Officer Will Ulrich for Thursday’s 2:57 p.m. EDT (1857 UTC) launch of Atlas V and the AEHF-6 communications satellite indicates an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions.

“High pressure is expected to remain in place over the Florida Peninsula through much of the upcoming week, leading to unusually warm and mainly dry conditions. Several fronts will approach the state, but the high will cause them to stall and dissipate north of the area,” the launch weather team says.

“Favorable conditions are expected for launch and backup day as an upper-level ridge and its associated high pressure strengthen over the state. Light offshore flow is expected both mornings before winds turn onshore in the afternoon behind the sea breeze. While it is expected to remain dry, scattered clouds will develop due to daytime heating, thus the primary concern for both Thursday and Friday is the Cumulus Cloud Rule.

The operations forecast includes scattered low-level clouds, good visibility, easterly winds 10 to 15 knots and a temperature near 81 degrees F.

If the launch is postponed to Friday for some reason, there continues to be an 80 percent chance of good conditions.