Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2003
ST. LOUIS, December 10, 2003 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] officials announced today the successful rollout and vehicle erection of the first Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle at Space Launch Complex (SLC) 37 pad at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. Its launch is scheduled for summer 2004.
The Delta IV Heavy is the longest rocket ever to have moved horizontally to a launch pad. Rollout of the vehicle from the Horizontal Integration Facility to the SLC 37 yesterday took 94 minutes, traveling at a top speed of 5 mph. Erection of the 191,400 lb. vehicle took only 20 minutes this morning and was completed by 11:02 a.m. EST.
"Successful rollout and vehicle erection is a major milestone in preparation for our first Delta IV Heavy launch," said Dan Collins, vice president and program manager, Delta Programs, for Boeing. "The vehicle will remain on the pad and undergo a variety of launch readiness tests between now and its launch this summer."
When launched, the Delta IV Heavy will contain an instrumented satellite configured to identify ascent conditions and their affect on future payloads. The results of this test flight will be used by the Boeing/Air Force EELV team to evaluate vehicle performance and payload environments in preparation for two government missions scheduled in 2005.
The Delta IV Heavy is the newest and largest expendable launch vehicle in the United States and is the largest of the Boeing Delta family of launch vehicles. It is configured with three common booster cores (CBCs) joined together and can lift up to 13,130 kg (28,950 pounds) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. When fully stacked with a payload on board, the vehicle will measure 71.7 meters (235 feet) in height. A five-meter upper stage sits on top of the core CBC, and has the capability of carrying either sin gle or multiple payloads.
The CBCs are individually powered by a Boeing RS-68 main engine, each of which produces 2,946 kN (662,000 lb.) of thrust at sea level. The RS-68 is designed and built by Boeing Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power and is the first new large, liquid-fueled rocket engine designed and built in the U.S. since the Space Shuttle Main Engine, also built by Boeing.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing 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 pro vider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.
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