United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket will carry a cube satellite for the U.S. Air Force along with the service’s fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite as a rideshare payload, Space News reported Monday.
The 12U experimental satellite has been integrated onto the rocket’s Centaur upper stage and will separate from the system before the Lockheed Martin-built AEHF-5 satellite commences separation.
According to Col. Shane Clark, AEHF-5 mission director for the Center Launch Enterprise Systems Directorate under the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, it will be the first time that SMC will separate a primary mission platform following a rideshare payload.
The AEHF-5 mission was originally scheduled for July 17 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and was pushed back to Aug. 8 due to Atlas V’s component failures. Gary Wentz, vice president for government and commercial programs at ULA, said the team has removed defective hardware and is implementing “minor changes” to the system following retesting and reinstallation activities.