A Boeing Delta IV rocket successfully delivered to space
the first satellite for the U.S. Air Force's Evolved Expendable
Launch Vehicle, or EELV program on Monday.
The Delta IV Medium launch
vehicle (in test firing, right) lifted off at 7:59 p.m. EST from
Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (FL),
carrying the Defense Satellite Communications System spacecraft,
DSCS III A3.
Approximately 42 minutes after liftoff, the Delta IV
successfully deployed the spacecraft to a geosynchronous transfer
"Today's successful launch is a milestone for Boeing and the
Delta team," said Will Trafton, vice president and general manager,
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems, after Monday's launch. "We're
proud to begin launch service for the Air Force EELV program, and
we're looking forward to three additional Delta IV launches this
year that include another DSCS III launch, the first launch of our
Delta IV Heavy vehicle, and the first mission from our new launch
facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California."
The Delta IV Medium launch vehicle features flight-proven,
Boeing-built systems -- the Common Booster Core first stage, the
Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine, and the four-meter composite payload
The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing 22 of the 29 initial EELV
launch awards. Boeing is the only EELV contractor to develop a
U.S.-built main engine, east and west coast launch facilities, and
a Heavy-lift vehicle.
The U.S. Air Force Space Command operates 10 Phase III DSCS
satellites that provide defense officials and battlefield
commanders secure voice and high rate data communications. The DSCS
III system also transmits space operations and early warning data
to various systems and users.
The next Delta launch is scheduled aboard a Delta II that will
carry a Global Positioning System satellite into orbit for the Air
Force later this month from the Cape. This launch had twice
been delayed due to weather.