Watch the Nighttime Launch of a New US Military Satellite Tonight!

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Integration of the payload module for the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) protected communications satellite.

United Launch Alliance launched the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite into space for the U.S. Air Force a little after midnight on Wednesday morning.

After a smooth liftoff, the Atlas V carrying AEHF-4 shed five strap-on boosters and placed the satellite in an initial orbit with its Centaur upper stage.

The goal of the satellite constellation is to "provide survivable, global, secure, protected and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets", according to an Air Force statement. Maj.

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"It also enables the president of the United States and combatant commanders to control their tactical and strategic forces through all levels of war and all phases of conflict". All AEHF satellites are assembled at Lockheed's Sunnyvale, Calif. facility. The previous three AEHF spacecrafts were launched atop Atlas 5 rockets in 2010, 2012 and 2013, according to website Space Flight Now.

The U.S. Defense Department has several partners in the AEHF program. These satellites will be used by the United States and worldwide partners including the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands. "Congratulations to the entire launch team on a successful 50th launch for the U.S. Air Force".

Lockheed Martin is on contract with the Air Force to deliver the fifth and sixth satellites and upgraded the Mission Planning ground system.

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