A Boeing [NYSE:BA] Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) payload delivery vehicle successfully deployed a Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite today for the U.S. Air Force from space launch complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The mission, DSP-21, was launched aboard a Titan IVB-31 expendable launch vehicle. Liftoff occurred at 3:28 a.m. EDT and acquisition of the DSP spacecraft from Air Force ground tracking stations confirmed the satellite is operating normally.
Following separation from the Titan IVB, the Boeing IUS fired its two stages to propel the spacecraft toward its geosynchronous orbit. The IUS performed roll maneuvers to protect the DSP spacecraft from extreme heat and cold temperatures prior to spacecraft separation. Upon reaching its intended orbit, the IUS successfully deployed the TRW-built 5,200-pound defense satellite.
"The successful mission of DSP-21 is another achievement for the Boeing IUS team," said Paul Bay, Boeing IUS program manager. "We are proud to continue our important role for the Defense Support Program."
The Defense Support Program is a satellite surveillance system that provides the United States and its allies with ballistic missile early warning and other information related to missile launches, surveillance and the detonation of nuclear weapons.
"The Boeing IUS is the only fully redundant booster vehicle in Air Force inventory and the only one capable of successfully placing nationally-critical DSP satellites into orbit," said Major Deirdre Healey, U.S. Air Force IUS program manager.
A typical Boeing IUS mission launched from a Titan IVB involves IUS separation from the rocket's second stage booster approximately nine minutes into flight. The IUS takes over responsibility for the remainder of the powered portion of the flight. For the next six hours and 54 minutes, the IUS autonomously performs all functions to place the spacecraft into its proper orbit, some 22,000 miles above the Earth. The first IUS rocket burn occurs a little over one hour into the IUS booster flight. The IUS second solid rocket motor ignites about six-and-a-half hours into the flight, followed by a coast phase, and then, separation of the spacecraft.
Since 1983, the Boeing Inertial Upper Stage has successfully deployed more than 21 critical U.S. defense and interplanetary satellite missions into high-earth orbits.
Boeing assembles and tests the IUS at its Kent, Wash. facility and is responsible for spacecraft integration and checkout, ground operations and launch preparation.
The Boeing IUS can be launched from Titan IV expendable launch vehicles or the space shuttle. The IUS program is managed by Boeing Space & Communications.
The Boeing Company, headquartered in Seattle, is the largest aerospace company in the world and the United States' leading exporter. It is the world's largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft, and the largest NASA contractor. The company's capabilities in aerospace also include rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, rocket engines, launch vehicles, satellites, and advanced information and communication systems. The company has an extensive global reach with customers in 145 countries and manufacturing operations throughout the United States, Canada and Australia.