CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WESH) – The Space Force at Cape Canaveral held a launch on Thursday afternoon.
An Atlas V rocket rolled from its processing building to its launch pad Wednesday, around 24 hours before its planned liftoff.
In a hangar not far away, workers over the past month or so have stayed on the job getting a national security satellite ready to go. They sealed the seven-ton satellite into the rocket’s nose cone where it now sits atop the rocket at the pad.
Many workers at the Cape have been working from home, but there’s a lot that has to be done by workers on site.
For Thursday’s launch, about 300 people are needed. Many of those will be in the launch control center.
Though that’s more than the CDC’s recommended maximum of ten, the Space Force will do its best to keep them socially distant.
“We sit right next to each other, but we have the ability to spread out because of the number of consoles, and so we’re going to spread out for that,” Brig. Gen. General Doug Schiess of the 45th Space Wing said.
The launch is considered a high military priority; the satellite represents an upgrade in the Pentagon’s ability to connect its warfighters on ground, sea and air. It’ll take the largest version of the 20-story Atlas 5 to get the heavy satellite into the right place in space.
The Space Force intends to hold up its end on the year’s launch schedule, even if some members of its launch and processing teams get sick.
Liftoff was scheduled for 2:47 p.m. Thursday and launched just after 4:15 p.m.