Space Force Conducts First Rocket Launch Despite Coronavirus

The Space Force carried out its first launch on Thursday when a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched, carrying an Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite into space. 

Watch the launch below:

“Congrats @ulalaunch on today’s successful launch of #AEHF6—our 1st USSF Nat’ l Security Space Launch!” Gen. John Raymond, the Chief of Space Operations, tweeted on Thursday.

The satellite is the sixth in a new array designed to replace the old Milstar system and provide secure communications for the military.

The launch comes as the Defense Department announced several news steps it was taking to help slow the spread of the virus. Also, on Thursday, the Pentagon said that 280 service members tested positive for the coronavirus.

The launch took place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and is the second launch in eight days from Florida’s Space Coast. Most of the staff at the Kennedy Space Center are working remotely because of the coronavirus.

But officials say that the virus will not prevent other rockets from lifting off.

Brig. Gen. Doug Schiess, the commander of the 45th Space Wing which oversees launch activity of the Space Coast, said that the Defense Department ordered that missions continue despite the outbreak of the virus. 

“The Department of Defense’s priority is to continue the mission, so we’ll continue the mission,” he said, adding, ‘I can’t see it happening where they would say, ‘Stop doing that.'”

Published in IJR