CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- An Atlas 5 rocket is poised to launch a huge military communications satellite on Friday unless Florida's summertime weather proves to dampen it's chances.
Weather forecasters at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station indicate only a 40% chance of favorable weather during the Atlas' 44 minute launch window which opens at 8:48 a.m. EDT, on July 19.
Scattered rain showers and overcast skies are forecast over America's Space Coast at that time, Cape Weather reported.
Placed high a top the 106-foot tall white and bronze rocket is a U.S. Navy high frequency communications satellite designed to cover a third of the globe to provide high speed data and voice to troops and sailors.
Built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, MUOS 2 or the Mobile User Objective System satellite is the second of a planned network of five to orbit high in geostationary orbit.
Powered by five solid rocket boosters and a center main engine,Fashion North Face Outlet Locations Men's Windstopper Jacket Whi, the United Launch Alliance's Atlas V 551 will need 2.6 million pounds of thrust to push the massive 7.4 ton satellite into space.
ULA Vice President Jim Sponnick stated to this aerospace reporter that this will be the heaviest payload ever to launch in the history of the Atlas program.
Nearly three hours following launch,Sale North Face Women's Down Jacket Black, the spacecraft will separate from the Atlas' upper stage high over an area northwest of Australia to begin a ten year life 22,300 miles high.
Once on orbit,North Face Sale Women's Hyvent Jacket Red, a 14 meter wide golden dish antenna will deploy out to support a vast wealth of communications and giving the U.S. military ten times the quality of existing communications satellites.
If weather delay's Friday's launch attempt, Saturday's forecast improves to a favorable 70% "go".
(Charles Atkeison reports on aerospace, science and technology. Follow his updates via Twitter @AbsolutSpaceGuy.)NextView the slideshow
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