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The Air Force and its industry partners launched AEHF-3, the third Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite, into orbit on Wednesday from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. An Atlas V rocket carried the satellite aloft, lifting off at 4:10 a.m., according to a 45th Space Wing release. "It is wonderful to witness the teamwork between our wing and all our partners involved in making this mission a success," said Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th SW commander, who oversaw the launch. "This successful launch helps to ensure that vital communications will continue to bolster our nation's military capabilities," she said. The satellite separated from the launch vehicle approximately 51 minutes after liftoff, states a Sept. 18 release from the Space and Missile Systems Center. "The satellite is healthy and operating as expected," said Col. Rodney Miller, Protected Satellite Communications Division chief within SMC. The satellite's operators will now conduct about 110 days of orbit-raising activities, followed by some 60 days of on-orbit testing. Lockheed Martin is the prime AEHF contractor. Mark Calassa, company vice president for protected communications, called the launch "a significant accomplishment for the nation's protected communications mission" in the company's release.