The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has been awarded a contract to launch two commercial satellites in 2007 for Alcatel Alenia Space Italia, the prime contractor of the Italian Space Agency.
Two Delta II expendable launch vehicles, both in the 7420-10 configuration, will each carry into orbit a COSMO-SkyMed spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
"Boeing Launch Services is honored to support these missions for Alcatel Alenia Space, the European leader in satellite-based solutions," said Boeing Launch Services Director Ken Heinly. "The COSMO/SkyMed system is a critical mission for Italian science, commerce and security, and the Delta II was selected for its reliability, timeliness and affordability."
The Delta 7420-10 configuration is approximately 126 feet tall and eight feet wide. It features a first stage and four strap-on solid propellant rocket motors, an interstage and a second stage. The first stage RS-27A main engine is manufactured by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, Calif. The solid strap-on motors are provided by Alliant Techsystems, Minneapolis, Minn. The main engine and the four solid rocket motors deliver a total thrust of 485,000 pounds at liftoff.
An AJ10-118K engine, built by Aerojet, Sacramento, Calif., powers the second stage. Ignited at altitude, the engine has a vacuum-rated thrust of about 9,800 pounds.
COSMO-SkyMed is an end-to-end Earth observation dual-use (civil and military) system composed of four satellites and ground stations. The system will take radar imagery of the Earth using an X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument at the request of institutional (including defense, civil and scientific) and commercial users.
Boeing Launch Services will procure the launch vehicles and related support from United Launch Alliance, the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture that began operation on Dec. 1.
Boeing Launch Services is a customer-focused organization that combines strategic planning, business development and sales for commercial Delta launch service customers. It is headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif., and is a business unit of the Command, Control and Communications Networks operating division under Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.