Space

US Space Force Launches First Mission

The Space Force officially became a new branch of the US military in December.

The newly-established US Space Force has launched its first national security satellite.

There were reduced staff numbers at the launch because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nothing stops the space launch mission”, the 45th Space Wing of the US Air Force tweeted.

The $1 billion satellite is the sixth and final one in the US military's Advanced Extremely High Frequency series.

Upgraded from the older Milstar satellites, the constellation has provided secure communication from 22,000 miles above the Earth for nearly a decade.

An Atlas V rocket transported the 6,168 kilogramme satellite before a closed viewing area at Canaveral Air Force Station.

Non-essential personnel were banned from the launch control room as part of measures put in place over COVID-19.

The Space Force officially became a new branch of the US military in December.

Around 6,000 US Air Force personnel are set to transfer over to Space Force.

The US says the aim of the service is to organise, equip and train forces to protect US and allied interests in space.

Cover image: The Atlas V launch (Picture: US Department of Defense).