Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Final Air Force Delta II to Launch on Monday

The final United States Air Force Delta II rocket is scheduled to liftoff from Cape Canaveral next week on a flight to deliver a new Global Positioning System satellite into earth orbit.

Launch of the United Launch Alliance Delta II-7925 from the Space Coast's complex 17-A is planned for this Monday morning at 6:35 am EDT. The short launch window closes at 6:49 am.

Following an on time liftoff, the new spacecraft would separate from it's third stage motor over the Wake Island area over the western Pacific at 7:43 am EDT.

This will be the final Air Force driven Delta II, however ULA will continue to process Delta II flights. Future GPS satellites will be a tad larger and will be carried into orbit on stronger launch vehicle such as the Delta IV.

When the satellite reaches orbit, Monday's Delta II mission will have successfully delivered it's 48th GPS payload.

Following a successful launch, the GPS 2R-21 satellite will orbit the earth at an altitude of 10,998 x 104 nautical miles once every 12 hours, and provide greater detailed navigational support of landmark areas to within three meters or less. Its orbital inclination will be 40 degrees to the equator.

Each new GPS satellite carries a ten year design life, and operates with 23 other GPS satellites to incorporate a truly successful navigational platform for users here on earth. From military to commercial use, GPS services continues to increase with the service on mobile phones and other portable devices. It is also a platform in which Google Maps has based it's free service upon. will provide LIVE launch morning coverage beginning at 6:15 am EDT. Also, follow our mobile updates via Twitter @spacelaunchnews.

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