Atlas V Rocket Launch With Unique Trail
After a two-day delay due to the potential threat of what was Tropical Storm Erika, United Launch Alliance sent an Atlas V rocket carrying a U.S. Navy satellite into orbit Wednesday morning from the Space Coast.
The launch created a cloud plume about a minute after liftoff, but ULA said nothing went wrong with the launch. The rocket is now in space.
ULA officials said the smoke trail caught the sunlight at just the right angle to create to cloud in the pre-dawn sky. With five boosters, the Atlas V rocket is ULA's most powerful rocket.
The rocket created about 2.5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. The satellite on board the rocket weighs about 15,000 pounds.
The rocket carried the fourth Mobile User Objective System, or MUOS, to orbit about 22,000 miles above Earth.
The satellite is part of a cluster that will provide video, voice and data for troops across the globe. The satellites act like cellphone towers for even the most remote regions of the planet.
One more satellite is set to launch and join the others in 2016.