Satellite Safely In Orbit
A Boeing Delta II rocket successfully deployed to space a
replacement satellite for the US Air Force’s Global
Positioning System (GPS) Wednesday.
The launch of GPS IIR-12 aboard a three-stage Delta II launch
vehicle occurred from Space Launch Complex 17B, Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, Fla., at 6:54 p.m. EDT. Following a 26-minute
flight, the spacecraft was injected to a transfer orbit from a
descending deployment flight profile.
Once operational, GPS IIR-12 will support US military missions
and provide a wide variety of civilian directional guidance
"As our government customer increases the use of space-based
systems to support military efforts around the world, I am very
proud of our Delta team as we continue to produce and launch
vehicles that provide our nation with an extremely reliable means
of deploying these critically important systems to orbit," said
Will Trafton, vice president and general manager, Boeing Expendable
Today’s launch marks the 58th consecutive successful
mission carried out by the Boeing Delta II.
The Delta II 7925-9.5 configuration vehicle used for the GPS
IIR-12 mission was powered by a Boeing Rocketdyne RS-27A main
engine with nine Alliant Techsystems strap-on solid rocket
boosters, and used a nine-and-a-half-foot diameter Boeing-built
composite payload fairing to encapsulate the spacecraft.
GPS IIR-12 joins the GPS constellation that consists of 24 Block
II version spacecraft, of which Boeing has launched all satellites
for this phase of the program.
GPS provides military and civilian users three-dimensional
position location data in longitude, latitude and elevation as well
as precise time and velocity.
The US military uses GPS to support operations involving
aircraft, ships, land vehicles and ground personnel using handheld
devices. Other applications such as mapping, aerial refueling and
rendezvous, geodetic surveys, and search and rescue operations also
benefit from the system.
The next Delta launch is NASA’s Aura mission aboard a
Delta II planned for July from Vandenberg Air Force Base (CA).