NROL-22 Satellite Successfully Deployed
Boeing told ANN Wednesday the company's aerospace branch completed
the first flight of a Delta IV rocket from Vandenberg Air Force
Base, CA Tuesday, with the successful launch of the National
Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite, NROL-22. The launch is the
first West Coast mission completed for the US Air Force Evolved
Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.
Liftoff of the Delta IV Medium+ launch vehicle occurred at 8:33
pm PDT Tuesday night, from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-6. The
payload was successfully deployed approximately 54 minutes
"This first Delta IV launch from Vandenberg is an important
achievement for Boeing and our NRO and Air Force customers," said
Dan Collins, vice president of Boeing Launch Systems. "Today we
successfully validated launching the Delta IV from SLC-6, providing
the Air Force and the nation with the first operational West Coast
launch site for the EELV program. With this launch, the Delta team
has fulfilled all the EELV requirements outlined by the Air Force.
We have a full family of launch vehicles, including a
flight-proven, heavy-lift vehicle, a domestically produced first
stage engine and now fully operational launch sites on both
SLC-6 is the West Coast launch site for the Boeing Delta IV
family of launch vehicles, that Boeing says provides the Air Force
the strategic capability to launch national security satellites to
polar, Sun-synchronous and high-inclination orbits. The new launch
site can support all five configurations of the Delta IV
Today's mission is the first for the NRO aboard a Delta IV, and
the second aboard a Delta rocket. The first was the GeoLITE mission
in 2001 aboard a Delta II.
The 132-acre SLC-6 features structures similar to Boeing's Delta
IV SLC-37 launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL --
with a Fixed Umbilical Tower, Mobile Service Tower, Fixed Pad
Erector, Launch Control Center and Operations Building, and a
Horizontal Integration Facility.
SLC-6 also features a Mobile Assembly Shelter that protects the
rocket from adverse weather.
Launch vehicle hardware is transported from the Boeing factory
in Decatur, AL to Vandenberg via the Delta Mariner ship that docks
just south of SLC-6.
The next Delta IV launch from Vandenberg is planned for late
2006 aboard a Delta IV Medium vehicle that will fly a mission for
the Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program,