(ARSTECHNICA) United Launch Alliance says its Atlas V rocket is ready to launch on Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Liftoff is set for 2:57pm (18:57 UTC) for the national security mission, which has a two-hour launch window. This is the first launch under the command of the newly constituted US Space Force.
For this mission, the Atlas V rocket will boost the sixth and final satellite in a constellation of military communications satellites in geostationary orbit. The "Advanced Extremely High Frequency" (AEHF) satellites are replacing the older Milstar communications system. The individual satellites cost $850 million each, and this AEHF-6 satellite to be launched Thursday was built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems. The previous five AEHF satellites launched on Atlas V rockets from 2010 to 2019.