First Space Force mission successfully launches after hydraulics issue

The United States Space Force launched its first rocket under the National Security Space Launch Program Thursday from Cape Canaveral.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The United States Space Force launched its first rocket under the National Security Space Launch Program Thursday from Cape Canaveral.

The AEHF satellites launched were previously under the watch of the Air Force Space Command before Space Force took control.

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A ULA Atlas V rocket launched to put the sixth, and final, advanced extremely high-frequency satellite into orbit. A hydraulics issue caused a slight delay.

The AEHF-6 mission will provide U.S. troops with more reliable transmission of data used for real-time video. It also allows for stronger, more jam-resistant communications.

“The critical work that’s being done at the Cape ... if nothing else, will be encouraging, a moral boost to the country that some things are still getting done,” said Dale Ketcham with Space Florida.

Despite the coronavirus and many employees telecommuting, NASA and SpaceX are still targeting mid-to-late May for a crewed flight test to the International Space Station.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Kennedy Space Center Viewing complex has closed. There was no viewing opportunities for the launch.