Advanced Satellite Blasts Off from Cape Canaveral: Launch Gallery

Early this morning a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral in a gorgeous pre-dawn launch, sending the third Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-3) satellite for the United States Air Force to orbit. The rocket lifted off from Launch Complex-41 at 4:10 am EDT (08:10 UTC) on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. Thanks to John O’Connor from for sharing his beautiful launch images with Universe Today.

This launch leads the way for a second launch today: the historic Orbital Sciences Antares commercial rocket carrying the first fully functional Cygnus commercial resupply vehicle to orbit from NASA’s Wallops Island Facility on a demonstration mission bound for the International Space Station.

The AEHF-3 will provide a state-of-the-art communications system for the US military and Department of Defense.

See more launches images below:

Awaiting its mission on Space Launch Complex 41, the Atlas 5 – 531/AEHF-3 stands ready as the weather slowly cleared. Credit and copyright: John O’Connor/,
As the furious vibrations shake cascades of ice off of the liquid oxygen tank the Atlas 5-531 reaches for the sky and its supersynchronous transfer orbit. Credit and copyright: John O’Connor/
Halfway through the lightning wires, the Atlas 5 accelerates to its rendezvous with a supersynchronous transfer orbit. Credit and copyright: John O’Connor/
Through a cloud on its way to orbit, the Atlas 5 – 531 vehicle and it AEHF-3 payload dapple the clouds with light…. Credit and copyright: John O’Connor/
…and come out the top, amid the night, resplendent on a seething tower of dawn and thunder. Credit and copyright: John O’Connor/
Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

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