Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Delta 2 rocket successfully launches GPS satellite
String of U.S. Air Force problems ends
Posted: Oct. 7, 1999

  Boeing's launch photo
Delta 2 rocket lifts off at 8:51 a.m. EDT (1251 GMT) today. Photo: Carleton Bailie for Boeing

A Delta 2 rocket today broke what seemed to be a spell of bad luck plaguing the U.S. Air Force at Cape Canaveral.

The Boeing-built rocket soared into the morning sky and placed the $42 million NAVSTAR Global Positioning System 2R-3 military navigation satellite into orbit.

The successful launch was the first for the U.S. Air Force from the Cape in over a year. The past three rocket missions, all Titan 4 launches, ended in failure, wasting about $3 billion.

The last military launch to go right was in May 1998.

GPS 2R-3 will join 27 other satellites in space that make up the operational GPS constellation. The orbiting fleet provides precision location, speed and time information for U.S. military troops around the globe.

The newly launched GPS satellite is the first deployed since an identical craft was damaged during a severe rainstorm at the launch pad in May. The damaged satellite was removed from atop the Delta rocket and later shipped to a Lockheed Martin manufacturing plant for inspections and repairs.

The Delta 2 rocket is manufactured in Huntington Beach, Calif., with final assembly in Pueblo, Colo. The rocket is powered by the RS-27A engine built by Boeing in Canoga Park, Calif. Alliant Techsystems of Magna, Utah, built the nine graphite epoxy motors added to the first stage for boost assist. Aerojet, Sacramento, Calif., manufactured the second stage engine, and Cordant Technologies, Elkton, Maryland, built the third stage solid-fuel motor. AlliedSignal, Teterboro, N.J., provided the rocket's guidance and flight control system.

Flight data file
Vehicle: Delta 2-7925
Payloads: GPS 2R-3
Launch date: Oct. 7, 1999
Launch window: 1251-1306 GMT (0851-0906 EDT)
Launch site: SLC-17A, Cape Canaveral, Florida

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