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Don't miss rocket launch tonight, clear skies forecast

Don't miss rocket launch tonight, clear skies forecast

"Regional systems present in Asia and the Middle East are well within the range of our deployed forces, as we've seen over the last years of combat operations". The new launch window is scheduled for 7:42 to 8:22 p.m. Friday.

The third Space Base Infrared Systems Geosynchronous Earth Orbit, or SBIRS GEO Flight 3, was hoisted atop the Atlas 5 on Jan.12 to complete the pre-flight assembly of the 189-foot-tall rocket for launch.

You can watch the Atlas launch live via a ULA webcast. The forecast looks promising for an on-time liftoff at the opening of a 40-minute window, with an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions.

Initially, it was scheduled to be launched on Thursday, Jan. 19, but it has now been reported that the launch will take place on Friday, Jan. 20, instead.

Mission patch for SBIRS GEO Flight 3. Credit USAF
Mission patch for SBIRS GEO Flight 3. Credit USAF

The SBIRS satellites are among the highest-priority national security missions because they are a critical piece of the United States' missile defense and warning networks.

According to a ULA press release, SBIRS, considered one of the nation's highest priority space programs, is created to provide global, persistent, infrared surveillance capabilities to meet 21st century demands in four national security mission areas including: missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness.

A successful Atlas V launch in October 2015. An Atlas V is targeting a March 16 launch of supplies to the International Space Station. This mission marks the 34th Atlas V mission in the 401 configuration; the two previous SBIRS GEO missions also launched on the Atlas V 401 rocket. SBIRS GEO-5 and GEO-6 are now in production.

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