The US Space Force and United Launch Alliance will honour all front-line workers and COVID-19 first responders while paying tribute to those affected by the pandemic during a launch mission. United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket carrying the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle serves as a collaborative “America Strong” salute from the USSF and ULA.
America Strong is campaign that began 23 April with a series of joint and individual team flights of the USAF Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels occurring several times a week over cities across the nation –and continues with the USSF-7 launch.
In order to accomplish this mission, personnel continue to implement various precautionary measures to maintain personnel and community safety. In addition, both USSF and ULA are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines.
General John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, USSF, and Commander, US Space Command, said, “The US Space Force and United Launch Alliance salute each American serving on the frontlines in our fight against COVID-19.
“We are proud to dedicate the upcoming launch of USSF-7 to showcase American resolve and national unity during these challenging times,” Gen Raymond added.
This collective salute from the USSF, US Air Force and ULA also includes a message of condolence, appreciation and hope on the rocket's payload fairing.
This National Security Space launch will be the second by ULA for the USSF since it was established in December 2019.
The first NSSL launch for the USSF was of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-6 satellite on an Atlas V that took place 26 March, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tory Bruno, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance, added, “We are honoured to collaborate with the US Space Force and dedicate the USSF-7 mission to front-line responders and those affected by this global pandemic.
“This launch provides us with a unique opportunity to honour those affected by COVID-19, and pay tribute to the hard working first responders who are selflessly supporting the nation during this difficult time,” Bruno added.
The USSF and ULA continue to refine processes and work together to safely continue operations in spite of COVID-19. Everyone can view the launch from the safety of their home via live-stream.
Residents in Florida near Cape Canaveral should follow state guidelines for traveling to beaches, and refrain from gathering in large groups.
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