A Boeing [NYSE: BA] Delta II rocket lifted off the pad here at 5:37 a.m. PST, successfully deploying five Iridium satellites within 85 minutes of launch.
Delta rockets now have deployed 55 satellites over eleven launches for the Iridium system, a global wireless communication network combining the worldwide reach of 66 low-Earth orbit satellites with land-based wireless systems to enable subscribers to connect with hand-held telephones and pagers virtually anywhere in the world. The Iridium system is the largest commercial satellite constellation ever launched by Boeing.
"We're proud to support this impressive undertaking that will revolutionize communications as we know it," said Darryl Van Dorn, Boeing director of NASA and commercial Delta programs.
Boeing builds the Delta II rocket in Huntington Beach, Calif., while its Canoga Park, Calif., facility produces the Rocketdyne RS-27 first-stage main engine. Final assembly takes place at the Boeing facility in Pueblo, Colo. The Delta launch team at Vandenberg Air Force Base handles launch coordination and operations for Iridium missions.
Alliant Techsystems, Magna, Utah, manufactures the graphite epoxy motors for boost assist. Aerojet, Sacramento, Calif., builds the second-stage engine, and AlliedSignal, Teterboro, N.J., produces the guidance and flight control system.
The Iridium system is owned by Iridium LLC, an international consortium of 17 investor organizations representing telecommunications and industrial companies worldwide, with Motorola Satellite Communications Group serving as the prime contractor.