US Military Launches Missile Defense Satellite (Photos)

ULA Atlas 5 Rocket Launches SBIRS GEO-2 Satellite

Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the second Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO-2 satellite for the U.S. Air Force at 5:21 p.m. EDT on March 19, 2013.

ULA Atlas 5 Rocket Launches SBIRS GEO-2 Satellite

Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the second Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO-2 satellite for the U.S. Air Force at 5:21 p.m. EDT on March 19, 2013.

SBIRS Geo-2 Satellite in Space

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launches the SBIRS GEO-2 missile defense satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 19, 2013 in this still from a ULA webcast.

SBIRS GEO-2 Satellite Launch: Atlas 5 Fairing Separation

United Launch Alliance

The protective shell-like nose cone fairing separates and falls away from the Atlas 5 rocket carrying the U.S. military's SBIRS GEO-2 missile defense satellite into orbit in this rear-facing view from a camera on the rocket during its March 19, 2013 launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

SBIRS Geo-2 Satellite Launch Stage Separation

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launches the SBIRS GEO-2 missile defense satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 19, 2013 in this still from a ULA webcast.

Atlas 5 Rocket Ascends with SBIRS GEO-2

United Launch Alliance

An Atlas 5 rocket streaks toward space carrying the SBIRS GEO-2 missile defense satellite on March 19, 2013, after a successful launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Atlas 5 Launches SBIRS GEO-2: Shockwave

United Launch Alliance

A shockwave of water vapor forms at the nose of an Atlas 5 rocket as it soars into space on March 19, 2013 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a mission to orbit the SBIRS GEO-2 missile defense satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

SBIRS Geo-2 Satellite Launch

United Launch Alliance

An Atlas 5 rocket launched the SBIRS GEO-2 mission from Cape Canaveral AFS on March 19, 2013.

Atlas 5 Rocket Ascends with SBIRS GEO-2

United Launch Alliance

An Atlas 5 rocket streaks toward space carrying the SBIRS GEO-2 missile defense satellite on March 19, 2013, after a successful launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

SBIRS Geo-2 Satellite Launch Viewed from Atlas 5 Rocket

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launches the SBIRS GEO-2 missile defense satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 19, 2013 in this still from a ULA webcast.

SBIRS Geo-2 Satellite Launch

United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launches the SBIRS GEO-2 missile defense satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 19, 2013 in this still from a ULA webcast.

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.