Atlas V Rocket Blasts Off from Cape Canaveral With Navy Satellite

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket roars off its Cape Canaveral launch pad on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: Craig Rubadoux, Florida Today)

An Atlas V rocket blasted off Tuesday night from Cape Canaveral with a Navy communications satellite that will serve as a cellphone tower in the sky for U.S. forces on patrol and in combat.

The 206-foot United Launch Alliance rocket launched at 8:04 p.m. ET, generating 2.5 million pounds of thrust to lift the roughly 15,000-pound satellite.

The mission got off to a successful start, with five solid-rocket boosters — the most powerful version of the Atlas V — and a Russian-made booster engine performing as planned.

The rocket’s Centaur upper stage also completed the first two of three burns before the Navy’s third Mobile User Objective System satellite is deployed nearly three hours after liftoff.

SOURCE: USA Today
James Dean, Florida Today