A Boeing Delta IV rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Saturday, carrying a Defense Meteorological Satellite Program F17 satellite into orbit. The rocket lifted off at 1353 UTC (8:53 am EST), and the satellite was placed into polar orbit shortly after. The new military satellite will be able to view clouds, measure winds, soil moisture, ice and snow coverage, and pollution. It’s equipped with visible and infrared sensors, so that it can view the Earth day and night.
A Boeing Delta IV rocket today carried a Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The launch was the second West Coast mission completed for the U.S. Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.
Liftoff of the Delta IV Medium occurred at 5:53 a.m. Pacific time from Space Launch Complex (SLC) 6. The DMSP-17 payload was successfully deployed approximately 18 minutes later.
“The DMSP constellation has the critical job of providing specialized weather data to aid the U.S. military in planning operations at sea, on land and in the air,” said Dan Collins, vice president of Boeing Launch Systems. “The Delta team is proud to contribute to this important capability for national defense with this first launch of a DMSP satellite aboard a Delta rocket.”
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This was the seventh Delta IV launch since the configuration began flying in November 2002 and the third of the Medium configuration. This was the first direct injection mission for Delta IV.
“With this second successful launch of a Delta IV from the West Coast this year, and the third Delta IV mission in 2006, we are seeing this new launch vehicle family being put through its paces and building a record of reliability,” Collins added. “I’m very pleased with the vehicle performance and the dedication to mission success demonstrated by the Delta team.”
The Delta IV for the DMSP-17 mission comprised a common booster core and first stage powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-68 engine. The second stage was powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine with an extendible nozzle. A four-meter-diameter composite fairing topped the stack and encapsulated the payload.
SLC-6 is the West Coast launch site for the Boeing Delta IV family of launch vehicles that provides the Air Force the strategic capability to launch national security satellites to polar, Sun-synchronous and high-inclination orbits. It can support all five configurations of the Delta IV family.
Major suppliers for the Delta IV family are Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, Calif., for first and second stage engines; Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Minneapolis, Minn., for composite and propulsion technologies, and L-3 Communications Corp., New York, N.Y., for the guidance computer.
The next Delta launch will be of a GPS navigation satellite aboard a Delta II from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., in mid-November.
Original Source: Boeing News Release