Boeing Delta II rocket launching new GPS satellite. Image credit: Boeing. Click to enlarge.
A Boeing [NYSE: BA] Delta II launch vehicle today successfully delivered the first of the modernized Block IIR Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to space for the U.S. Air Force.
The Delta II rocket carrying the GPS IIR-14 (M) spacecraft lifted off from Space Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., yesterday at 11:37 p.m. EDT. Following a nominal 24-minute flight, the rocket deployed the satellite to a transfer orbit.
“We are honored to be the United States Air Force’s choice to launch the GPS satellites and proud to have delivered the first modernized spacecraft to its targeted orbit. Tonight’s success is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of Boeing’s Delta team,” said Dan Collins, vice president, Boeing Expendable Launch Systems.
The Boeing Delta II 7925-9.5 configuration vehicle used for this mission featured a Boeing first stage booster powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-27A main engine and nine Alliant Techsystems (ATK) solid rocket boosters. An Aerojet AJ10-118K engine powered the storable propellant restartable second stage. A Thiokol Star-48B solid rocket motor propelled the third stage prior to spacecraft deployment. The rocket also flew with a nine-and-a-half-foot diameter Boeing payload fairing.
A redundant inertial flight control assembly built by L3 Communications Space & Navigation provided guidance and control for the rocket that enabled a precise deployment of the satellite.
The GPS IIR-14 (M) mission also marked the 100th flight of the Delta II using the ATK 40-inch diameter version solid rocket motors.
Boeing provides launches for the GPS program aboard Delta II vehicles and has a planned GPS manifest through at least 2007.
The GPS network supports U.S. military operations conducted from aircraft, ships, land vehicles and by ground personnel. Additional use includes mapping, aerial refueling and rendezvous, geodetic surveys, and search and rescue operations.
GPS provides military and civilian users three-dimensional position location data in longitude, latitude and elevation as well as precise time and velocity. The satellites orbit the earth every 12 hours, emitting continuous navigation signals. The signals are so accurate, time can be figured to within one millionth of a second, velocity within a fraction of a mile-per-second and location to within 100 feet.
The new GPS IIR-14 (M) is the first of the modernized GPS satellites that incorporates various improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased resistance to interference and enhanced performance for users.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world’s largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $30.5 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; the world’s largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world’s largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA’s largest contractor; and a global leader in sustainment solutions and launch services.
Original Source: Boeing News Release