Space Force launches its first mission with virus precautions
|CTVnews 26 Mar 2020 at 16:55|
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. -- The newly established U.S. Space Force launched its first national security satellite Thursday with a leaner staff because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nothing stops the space launch mission! the 45th Space Wing tweeted from Cape Canaveral.
The approximately $1 billion satellite is the sixth and final one in the U.S. military s Advanced Extremely High Frequency series. Upgraded from the older Milstar satellites, the constellation has provided secure communication from 22,000 miles (35,400 kilometres) up for nearly a decade.
A powerful Atlas V rocket hoisted the 13,600-pound (6,168 kilogram) satellite. The new Space Force seal adorned the United Launch Alliance rocket.
The Space Force officially became a new branch of the U.S. military in December.
United Launch Alliance chief executive Tory Bruno said non-essential personnel were banned from the launch control room to reduce the size of the crowd.
Can t quite get 6 ft everywhere. Surfaces will be cleaned between people, etc., tweeted Bruno, who monitored the launch from company headquarters in Denver. He normally travels to the launch site.
Another pandemic effect: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station s planned name change to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station is on hold.