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Friday, January 20, 2017

First Atlas V rocket launch of the year will blast missile warning satellite into space

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 4:25 PM

  • Photo via United Launch Alliance
For the first time this year, a rocket will pierce the night sky over the Space Coast tonight.

The United Launch Alliance will launch the Atlas V carrying the SBIRS GEO Flight 3 Mission, a U.S. Air Force satellite, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at approximately 7:42 p.m.

The launch window will stay open until 8:22 p.m. to account for any technical problems or launch difficulties.

So far, weather conditions look good and the launch is on schedule, with an 80 percent chance of meeting all launch conditions.

According to Florida Today, the launch was originally scheduled for Thursday night, but was scrubbed due to a problem with a booster engine sensor and other aircraft entering the launch area before liftoff.

  • Photo via United Launch Alliance
The ULA website describes the SBIRS as one of the nation's highest priority space programs, which provides infrared surveillance capabilities to aid missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness.

This satellite will join two others in a constellation already providing early warnings to troops in the field.

If you don't have a clear view of the launch from your home, the ULA will be livestreaming the liftoff on its website.

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