US Air Force Launches 2 Military Surveillance Satellites

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#Satellites #USAirForceUS Air Force Launches 2 Military Surveillance Satellites : The U.S. Air Force has launched two more satellites designed to help keep some of the nation’s most valuable military space assets safe and secure.

The third and fourth satellites in the military’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) lifted off atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Medium rocket at 12:52 a.m. EDT (0452 GMT) Friday (Aug. 19) from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will take up positions near geosynchronous orbit (GEO), a region of space about 22,300 miles (35,900 kilometers) above Earth that houses critical military surveillance and communications satellites.

Like their two GSSAP predecessors, which launched aboard a Delta IV Medium in July 2014, the newly lofted craft will monitor objects in the GEO belt, watching out for anything that might pose a threat to American satellites there, Air Force officials said.

“The first two GSSAP satellites have performed remarkably well,” Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Space and Missile Systems commander and Air Force program executive officer for space, said in a statement Thursday (Aug. 18).