On Thursday 26th March, from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a rocket carrying a US Space Force communications satellite lifted off.
According to the US tabloids, a hydraulic fault stopped the countdown for more than an hour; however, the problem was fixed.
As a reminder, President Donald Trump established the Space Force, which is focused on warfare in space, in December 2019.Credit BBC
Many have been surprised why the launch was proceeding despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Lieutenant General John F Thompson, Commander of the Space and Missiles Systems Centre in California, explained the reason behind the launch.
“It is a really, really important launch,” he said before explaining that: “It’s the very first launch for the US Space Force. There are critical things, or mission essential things, that the US Department of Defence does every day. Even in the face of a global pandemic, we must continue to perform mission essential tasks.”
“[The satellite] supports the president and other world leaders with critical communications around the planet. This launch extends that communication into a timeframe beyond 2030.”
The countdown was held at T-Minus 46 seconds after a problem was detected with a hydraulic accumulator, (Ed. a device that accumulates fluid and holds it under pressure to store energy).