At 2313 GMT an Atlas V 551 rocket operated by the United Launch Alliance (ULA) was launched from Cape Canveral in Florida.  The orbit achieved was a 39,000km circular High Earth orbit flown to via the Centaur upper stage using a final stage burn to circularise orbit and remove inclination. The launch, which had the codename AFSPC 11, was carrying three satellites. The main payload was CBAS – Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM. The Boeing-built communications satellite will continuous relay communications for the US military.

The ULA Atlas V 551 blasts off using its five solid rocket boosters and Russian built RD-180 engine on mission AFSPC-11. Courtesy: ULA

The second payload carried was a 740kg satellite called EAGLE (AFRL). It is a converted launch adapter ring and is designed to be a payload delivery satellite with solar arrays attached along with an independent propulsion system. It has a design life of one year.

On this particular mission a third satellite called MYCROFT (named after the brother of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes) was carried by EAGLE (AFRL). This was a space situational awareness craft built by US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) using a bus from Orbital ATK.