A Boeing [NYSE: BA] Delta II rocket successfully deployed to space a replacement satellite for the U.S. Air Force's Global Positioning System (GPS) today.
The launch of GPS IIR-12 aboard a three-stage Delta II launch vehicle occurred from Space Launch Complex 17B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., at 6:54 p.m. EDT. Following a 26-minute flight, the spacecraft was injected to a transfer orbit from a descending deployment flight profile.
Once operational, GPS IIR-12 will support U.S. military missions and provide a wide variety of civilian directional guidance services.
"As our government customer increases the use of space-based systems to support military efforts around the world, I am very proud of our Delta team as we continue to produce and launch vehicles that provide our nation with an extremely reliable means of deploying these critically important systems to orbit," said Will Trafton, vice president and general manager, Boeing Expendable Launch Systems.
Today's launch marks the 58th consecutive successful mission carried out by the Boeing Delta II.
The Delta II 7925-9.5 configuration vehicle used for the GPS IIR-12 mission was powered by a Boeing Rocketdyne RS-27A main engine with nine Alliant Techsystems strap-on solid rocket boosters, and used a nine-and-a-half-foot diameter Boeing-built composite payload fairing to encapsulate the spacecraft.
GPS IIR-12 joins the GPS constellation that consists of 24 Block II version spacecraft, of which Boeing has launched all satellites for this phase of the program.
GPS provides military and civilian users three-dimensional position location data in longitude, latitude and elevation as well as precise time and velocity.
The U.S. military uses GPS to support operations involving aircraft, ships, land vehicles and ground personnel using handheld devices. Other applications such as mapping, aerial refueling and rendezvous, geodetic surveys, and search and rescue operations also benefit from the system.
The next Delta launch is NASA's Aura mission aboard a Delta II planned for July from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
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