The U.S. space agency launched its first national security mission on Thursday, sending an ultra-secure military communications satellite into orbit while the coronavirus pandemic paralyzes much of the country. The Lockheed Martin Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 4:18 pm (2018 GMT) aboard an Atlas V551 missile.
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AEHF-6, as the satellite is called, is the sixth and last in Lockheed Martin’s AEHF constellation. It will join the other five, launched between 2010 and 2019, on Friday at around 0400 GMT after reaching a geostationary orbit.
The satellite constellation provides “global, survivable, protected communications for strategic command and tactical warriors operating on ground, sea and air platforms,” said Lockheed Martin. And it gives “higher leadership a survivable line of communication with the armed forces at all levels of conflict, including the nuclear war,” it said.
The system offers coding, a low probability of interception and detection, and it is interference resistant and can penetrate the electromagnetic interference caused by nuclear weapons, it added. The White House announced in December the creation of the new military arm of the Space Force, with President Donald Trump space “ the newest domain of warfare in the world ” called.
(This story has not been edited by staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)
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