ULA launches communications satellites from Florida's Space Coast

ULA launch kicks off the first of three launches this week for Florida's Space Coast. SpaceX has launches planned on Wednesday and Thursday.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The mighty Atlas V rocket lifted off Tuesday into Florida's blue sky, sending a satellite duo into a high orbit above Earth.

After a brief break from launches due to Hurricane Ian, the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station supported its first of two launches this week when United Launch Alliance carried two communication satellites into space. 

Each satellite will provide digital TV signals to homes across the continental U.S. Both satellites were built by Boeing in El Segundo, California, for SES. 

The Atlas V rocket launched at 5:36 p.m. EDT on Tuesday with SES 20 and 21 communication satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Base. 

The weather was not a problem for ULA for Tuesday's evening launch.

After being drenched by Ian's record-setting rainfall, Florida is experiencing a welcome dry stretch ending the wet season, but scattered showers are forecast to return later in the week. 

"Beautiful day in Florida," ULA CEO Tory Bruno tweeted. "A little breezy, but not bad."

When the launch window opened, there was a 10% chance of violating launch weather constraints, according to 45th Weather Squadron Weather Officer Jessica Williams.

With mostly clear skies, the 196-foot-tall rocket was visible from the Space Coast to South Florida and even as far inland as Tampa as it moved over the coastline.

Less than 30 minutes after launch, the Atlas V Centaur upper stage completed its first burn to get the satellites en route to their final orbit. A series of three engine burns will complete the journey for the spacecraft.

About six hours after launch, the rocket's upper stage will inject the spacecraft into orbit about 22,000 miles above Earth.

Two more launches are planned this week on the Eastern Range. On Wednesday, SpaceX will launch four astronauts for NASA from Kennedy Space Center and then a pair of communication satellites on Thursday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.