An Atlas V rocket lifts the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-2 (AEHF-2) military communications satellite into orbit for the U.S. Air Force from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 2:42 p.m. on 4 May 2012. From a photographic standpoint, the heat distortion was extreme given the hot, humid day.

From the United Launch Alliance press release: "The AEHF system is the successor to the five-satellite Milstar constellation and will provide significantly improved global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications for all warfighters servicing U.S. national security."

The structure on the left is Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, one of the old Space Shuttle launch pads now awaiting demolition. The tower at right is the Vertical Integration Facility for Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station from which the Atlas V rocket lifted off. The Atlas V rocket is assembled and then mated with its payload in the VIF. Prior to launch, the rocket, in its vertical launch position, along with the umbilical tower, are towed slowly by train to the launch pad.
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