United Launch Alliance announced March 10 its Atlas V rocket launch that will carry the Air Force’s sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite into space is delayed by at least two days because of an unusual valve reading.
“Additional time is needed for the team to replace and retest the valve,” a ULA spokeswoman said. “Launch is now scheduled for no earlier than March 21.”
Spokeswoman Heather McFarland said the valve of concern is on the Atlas V booster propellant delivery system.
AEHF, built by Lockheed Martin, is replacing the Milstar constellation to provide more secure, signal jamming-resistant satellite communications for “high priority military ground, sea, and air assets,” according to the Space Force.
“AEHF provides connectivity across the spectrum of mission areas, including land, air, and naval warfare; special operations; strategic nuclear operations; strategic defense; theater missile defense; and space operations, and intelligence,” the service said.
Last year, the fifth AEHF satellite launch also was postponed due to voltage issues and a rocket battery failure on the Atlas V.