The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today unveiled plans for the major expansion of launch capabilities at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., to accommodate its newest family of rockets, Delta IV.
"Under a temporary right of entry to Space Launch Complex 37, Boeing has commenced preliminary construction activities. We intend to build a completely new launch pad with a final assembly building, as well as other improvements to the site," said Gale Schluter, vice president of Boeing Expendable Launch Systems.
"This facility will conduct all operations necessary to prepare the Delta IV family of launch vehicles and its payloads for launch and represents a $250 million investment in Florida by Boeing," he continued.
"The Delta IV launch pad area is our second major project in Florida aimed at expanding the launch capability for Boeing military, commercial, and civil customers," Schluter added. "Local communities, elected leaders and the U.S. Air Force have created a robust environment for the U.S. launch industry."
Plans call for construction of a new launch pad, mobile service tower, fixed umbilical tower, 75,000-square-foot horizontal integration facilities as well as support and test facilities.
Delta IV will be horizontally assembled near the launch pad, reducing vehicle processing time by 50 percent over current vertically integrated launch systems -- such as those used for the Boeing Delta II and Delta III.
Contract negotiations are being finalized with Raytheon Engineers & Constructors to provide turnkey services for the Delta IV launch complex. One of the business segments of the Raytheon Company, Raytheon Engineers & Constructors is a full-service engineering and construction firm serving clients worldwide.
The first launch of the Delta IV is set for early 2001. During the first year of operation the facility will have a capacity to launch up to four Delta IVs, with full capability to handle 15 to 18 launches annually by the second year.
The anticipated launch rate is approximately three times that of the most current American launch systems and could require the addition of a second launch pad.
Boeing is developing the new family of Delta IV launch vehicles for the U.S. Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The Delta IV family of launch vehicles will be able to carry a wide range of payload classes. The largest Delta IV will lift more than 30,000 pounds to geosynchronous transfer orbit. The Air Force?s EELV program is aimed at reducing space launch costs up to 50 percent from today?s rate of approximately $12,000 per pound of payload to orbit.
Boeing launches Delta II and Delta III rockets from Space Launch Complex 17 at Cape Canaveral Air Station. One of the two launch pads was refurbished to also accommodate the new Delta III rocket which will make its first flight later this year.