Coronavirus has been spreading rapidly across the world, affecting more than 175 countries and claiming more than 26,000 lives. Everything has changed, maybe forever, due to the ongoing pandemic.
Inspite of the adverse conditions, The US Space Force has done its first satellite launch. A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 27th March. The rocket carried the sixth and last satellite of the US’s ‘Advanced Extremely High Frequency’ (AEHF) satellite constellation. A 6,168kg satellite was by the rocket. The launch team for this operation was leaner than tha usual as because of Corona outbreak. Only essential and required people were allowed in the launch control room.
To obey the rules of social distancing the viewing area was closed and launch was much subdued than normal.
The satellites will be used to receive and retransmit secure signals and communications for the Armed Forces of the United States, the British Armed Forces, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces and the Australian Defence Force. Narrow spot beams are used to by these satellites directed towards the Earth for communications. Jam-resistant and low probability of interception for relay communications is achieved by Crosslinks between the satellites.
The older Milstar satellites are to be replaced and the constellation has provided secure communication from 22,000 miles above the Earth for nearly a decade.
The Space Force is the sixth branch of the US Armed Forces but it is independent from the rest.