Boeing [NYSE: BA] officials announced today the next payload carried aboard the company's Delta III rocket will be a simulated payload that closely matches the last satellite carried by the launch vehicle.
According to Gale Schluter, vice president and general manager of Boeing Expendable Launch Systems, the decision was made after the company completed discussions with potential customers, but was unable to match schedule requirements.
"There was more than one customer who was willing to fly aboard the Delta III," Schluter said. "However, due to schedule difficulties we were unable to find a near-term opportunity that supported our business needs. If we waited so we could meet customer schedule requirements, we would pass up other opportunities for Delta III and Delta IV launch services," Schluter said.
The next mission is designated DM-F3 for Delta Mission -- Flight 3 and will carry an instrumented payload simulator. The payload has been designed to match the mass and frequency characteristics of common commercial communication payloads sized for Delta III.
The flight profile that will be flown closely matches the flight of the most recent Delta III to ensure the launch vehicle experiences as close to the same conditions as it did on the last mission.
At this time the launch is projected for mid-August from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Boeing declared the Delta III launch vehicle mission ready in April after an eight-month return-to-flight program.
Boeing Delta Web Site: www.boeing.com/delta