Second Launch In Less Than Two Months
Chalk up another
successful launch for Boeing's Delta II launch vehicle -- as one of
the boosters successfully delivered to orbit a replenishment Block
IIR Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite for the US Air Force
The Delta II rocket carrying the GPS IIR-16 (M) satellite lifted
off from Space Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, FL at 2:12 pm EST, deploying the satellite to a transfer
orbit 68 minutes later.
Delta IIs have launched all GPS IIR satellites. The launch also
marked the second GPS mission aboard a Boeing Delta II in less than
two months. GPS IIR-15 lifted off from Cape Canaveral on September
"Our Delta team understands the importance GPS satellites play
in protecting our military and helping them defend our country,"
said Dan Collins, vice president and general manager, Boeing Launch
Systems. "The Delta II vehicle has a strong record of performance,
and I am proud of the team's commitment to mission success and our
role in sustaining the GPS constellation."
The Delta II 7925-9.5 configuration vehicle used for the mission
featured a Boeing first stage booster powered by a Pratt &
Whitney Rocketdyne RS-27A main engine and nine Alliant Techsystems
(ATK) solid rocket boosters. An Aerojet AJ10-118K engine powered
the storable propellant restartable second stage. A Thiokol
Star-48B solid rocket motor propelled the third stage prior to
spacecraft deployment. The rocket also flew with a
nine-and-a-half-foot diameter payload fairing.
A redundant inertial flight control assembly built by L3
Communications Space & Navigation provided guidance and control
for the rocket, enabling a precise deployment of the satellite.
GPS IIR-16 (M) is the third of the modernized GPS satellites
that feature greater accuracy, increased resistance to interference
and enhanced performance for users.
The GPS network supports US military operations conducted from
aircraft, ships, land vehicles and by ground personnel. Additional
uses include mapping, aerial refueling and rendezvous, geodetic
surveys, and search and rescue operations.
GPS provides military and civilian users 3-D position location
data in longitude, latitude and elevation as well as precise time
and velocity. The satellites orbit the Earth every 12 hours,
emitting continuous navigation signals. The signals are so
accurate, time can be figured to within one millionth of a second,
velocity within a fraction of a mile-per-second and location to
within 100 feet.