59-Minute Trip To Orbit Followed By Successful Deployment
A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, on behalf of Boeing
Launch Systems, successfully launched the GeoEye-1 satellite at
11:51 am PDT on Saturday. Blasting off from Space Launch Complex 2
at Vandenberg AFB, it marked the second ULA Delta II mission from
Vandenberg in 2008.
GeoEye-1 will provide the highest resolution of any commercial
imaging system -- 0.41-meters or 16 inches for panchromatic (black
and white) imagery and multispectral (color) imagery at 1.65-meter
Following a nearly 59-minute flight, the GeoEye-1 spacecraft was
deployed on its mission equipped with the most advanced and
sophisticated technology, capable of offering three-meter accuracy.
This allows end users to map natural and man-made features to
within three meters of their actual locations on the surface of the
Earth without ground control points.
"ULA is pleased to have successfully launched the GeoEye-1
satellite for our GeoEye and Boeing Launch Systems customers," said
Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Delta Product Line. "We are
excited to be part of the team that built and launched this
advanced satellite technology, which will ultimately provide the
highest-resolution view of our home planet ever available to
scientists, businesses, the US government, and private
The ULA Delta II 7420-10 configuration vehicle featured a first
stage booster powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-27A
main engine and four Alliant Techsystems (ATK) strap-on solid
rocket motors. An Aerojet AJ10-118K engine powered the second
stage. The payload was encased by a 10-foot-diameter composite
payload fairing. The vehicle guidance and navigation system for the
Delta launch vehicles is provided by L-3 Space & Navigation's
Redundant Inertial Flight Control Assembly (RIFCA).
"On behalf of the United Launch Alliance, I congratulate L-3
Communications on their outstanding achievement of the 100th
consecutive successful RIFCA flight on this GeoEye-1 mission," said
Sponnick. "Today's launch was a significant milestone for our L-3
partners after a long history of support to the Delta II, Delta
III, and Delta IV vehicles."
ULA began assembling the Delta II launch vehicle in Decatur, AL
nearly two years ago. In late May the first stage arrived at
Vandenberg from Decatur, followed by the second stage in June. The
vehicle was erected on the stand at SLC-2, July 3, with solid
rocket motor installation completed by July 9. The GeoEye-1
spacecraft was mated to the Delta II booster August 7.
ULA's next launch is a National Reconnaissance office mission
scheduled for October 17, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL
aboard a Delta IV Heavy from SLC-37.