A Boeing [NYSE: BA] Delta II rocket fired up the night sky to launch a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigational satellite into space. Liftoff occurred at 2:55 a.m. EST. Twenty-five minutes later, the satellite was placed into an elliptical orbit almost 11,000 miles above the Earth.
The U.S. Air Force has used Boeing Delta rockets to place every GPS satellite into orbit since 1989. "There is no better way to start off the new year," says Will Hampton, director of Air Force Delta programs. "This is the first Delta launch of 2001 and we are thrilled to see this long-time relationship between Boeing and the U.S. Air Force continue with great success." The partnership began in 1974 when Boeing was awarded contracts to build developmental satellites and receiver sets. In 1987, the company won a contract to launch GPS satellites.
"Even after dozens of GPS missions since the initial launch we continue to work vigilantly with the Air Force, to ensure mission success," says Hampton.
Currently, 28 operational satellites make up GPS constellation. For more information on the Delta family of rockets, go to www.boeing.com/delta.
Boeing Delta Web Site: www.boeing.com/delta