MUOS-4 (Atlas V)
2 September 2015
Space Launch Complex 41
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

The U.S. Navy’s fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-4) satellite launches into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 6:18 a.m. on 2 September 2015 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

According to the ULA press release:

MUOS-4 is the fourth of a five-satellite constellation to be launched and operated by PMW 146, the Navy’s Communications Satellite Program Office. MUOS is a next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system designed to significantly improve ground communications to U.S. forces on the move around the globe.

The MUOS satellites are the heaviest payloads to ride into space atop any of ULA’s Atlas V launch vehicles. The Atlas V generates more than two and half million pounds of thrust at liftoff in order to meet the demands of lifting the nearly 7.5-ton satellites.

The Atlas V launches MUOS-4 toward the approaching dawn.
A long distance view of the rocket trailing flames across the sky.
The exhaust cloud expands in the thin air of the upper atmosphere high enough now to be illuminated by the sunlight coming from below the horizon.
The rocket, bottom right, and the planet Venus, upper left, came together at one point.
A view of the exhaust cloud twisting its way across the brightening dawn sky.
The high altitude exhaust cloud brightly lit by the sunlight coming from below the horizon. The planet Venus is visible as a bright dot just right of center.
A view of the exhaust cloud a little bit later showing how it has now twisted itself into a pretzel shape.
Looking east just before sunrise.
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