CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-3 payload for the United States Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 here at 8:10 a.m. EDT today. This launch marks the 9th ULA launch this year, the 54th Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) mission, and the 65th launch since ULA was formed nearly six years ago.
"Congratulations to the entire team on today's successful launch of the GPS IIF-3 satellite," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Mission Operations. "ULA and our mission partners have a rich heritage with the GPS program and we are proud to have served alongside the government and contractor teams over the last two decades to provide important Global Positioning System capabilities for our national defense and for millions of civilian and commercial users around the world."
This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium-plus configuration vehicle using a ULA single common booster core powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine, along with two Alliant Techsystems GEM 60 solid rocket motors. The payload was encapsulated by a composite payload fairing and powered by the four-meter diameter upper stage using the PWR RL10B-2 engine. The GPS IIF-3 launch marked the ninth flight of the Delta IV medium+ (4,2) configuration and the 21st flight of the Delta IV family of launch vehicles.
"We are honored to be the primary launch provider for our nation. Reliability, quality, and on-time performance are ULA's hallmarks," said Sponnick. "Our nation's soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines rely on our performance in accurately placing our customer's critical payloads in their required orbits."
GPS IIF-3 is the third in a series of next generation GPS satellites and will join a worldwide timing and navigation system utilizing 24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 miles above the earths' surface. The GPS IIF series provides improved accuracy and enhanced performance for GPS users.
The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV Program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
ULA's next launch is the Atlas V OTV-3 mission for the Air Force scheduled October 25 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
For more information on ULA, visit the ULA Web site at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch and twitter.com/ulalaunch.
SOURCE United Launch Alliance