ULA highlights reel from Friday night's Atlas 5 launch

ULA highlights reel from Friday night's Atlas 5 launch

ULA highlights reel from Friday night's Atlas 5 launch

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched the new missile-warning satellite Friday night (Jan. 19) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Officials said in orbit, the satellites match the speed of the earth's rotation, so they seem to hover over the same patch of land at all times, helping to provide information for the U.S. missile defense systems and data about what kinds of launches are happening on the ground.

The launch window will open at 7:52 p.m. ET.

The SBIRS satellites will collect data and relay it to an Air Force command center where it will be used to issue missile warnings and inform decisions related to missile defense systems, as well as improve battle space awareness and technical intelligence. It's also the 75th Atlas V launch since the rocket's inaugural flight in 2002.

The video shows the Atlas 5's rollout to the pad, liftoff, and separation of the Lockheed Martin-built SBIRS GEO Flight 4 spacecraft in orbit. Then, at around 7.48 the United Launch Alliance rocket carried more than 1 million thrust and deployed with a 10,000 pound addition to an Air Force constellation.

The ULA has already confirmed that the countdown to launch is underway, adding that this is one of the USA's "highest priority" missions. There were no details available about which orbit the SBIRS payload would hopefully be delivered to on Thursday evening.

Related news