A Boeing [NYSE: BA] Delta IV rocket successfully delivered to space the first satellite for the U.S. Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV, program today.
A Delta IV Medium launch vehicle lifted off at 7:59 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., carrying the Defense Satellite Communications System spacecraft, DSCS III A3.
Approximately 42 minutes after liftoff, the Delta IV successfully deployed the spacecraft to a geosynchronous transfer orbit.
"Today's successful launch is a milestone for Boeing and the Delta team," said Will Trafton, vice president and general manager, Boeing Expendable Launch Systems. "We're proud to begin launch service for the Air Force EELV program, and we're looking forward to three additional Delta IV launches this year that include another DSCS III launch, the first launch of our Delta IV Heavy vehicle, and the first mission from our new launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California."
The Delta IV Medium launch vehicle features flight-proven, Boeing-built systems -- the Common Booster Core first stage, the Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine, and the four-meter composite payload fairing.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing 22 of the 29 initial EELV launch awards. Boeing is the only EELV contractor to develop a U.S.-built main engine, east and west coast launch facilities, and a Heavy-lift vehicle.
The U.S. Air Force Space Command operates 10 Phase III DSCS satellites that provide defense officials and battlefield commanders secure voice and high-rate data communications. The DSCS III system also transmits space operations and early warning data to various systems and users.
The next Delta launch is scheduled aboard a Delta II that will carry a Global Positioning System satellite into orbit for the Air Force later this month from the Cape.
Boeing Launch Services Inc., based in Huntington Beach, Calif., is the sales, marketing, and contracting organization that supports the Boeing Delta and Sea Launch family of launch vehicles for all Boeing customers.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $25 billion business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government, and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.
Boeing Delta website www.boeing.com/delta