Monday, August 17, 2009

Delta II Blasts Off On 49th And Final GPS Mission

A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket hauled a Navstar Global Positioning System spacecraft into orbit early today, marking the end of a near-perfect 20 years string of satellite-delivery missions.

The 125-foot tall rocket and its payload blasted off from Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:35 a.m. Sixty-eight minutes later, the spacecraft was deployed into an orbit 11,000 miles above the planet.

The flight was the 49th and final Delta II-GPS launch. Developed specifically to launch Navstar GPS satellites, the Delta II first sent up one of the spacecraft on Feb. 14, 1989. Forty-eight of the 49 Delta II-GPS missions were successful. New generation GPS spacecraft are wider and heavier and will be launched on Atlas V or Delta IV rockets.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the United Launch Alliance image of the Delta II blasting off at 6:35 a.m. from Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. You can also click the enlarged version to get an even bigger, more detailed view. Photo credit: Carleton Bailie/United Launch Alliance.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Saw it from my front yard - most beautiful one I've seen.

Mark said...

What's to become of the Delta II?

Anonymous said...

What else can they do?

After "a near-perfect 20 years string of satellite-delivery missions" they're phasing it out!!!