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First ULA Delta IV Heavy NRO Mission Successfully Lifts Off From Cape Canaveral

45th SW Launches NRO satellite on board Delta IV-Heavy
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (AFNS) The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance-built Delta IV-Heavy Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle from Space Launch Complex 37 at 9:47 p.m. (EST), carrying a classified National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite. The largest of the Delta IV family, the Heavy version features three Common Booster Cores mounted together to form a triple-body rocket. "This launch is the culmination of a lot of long hours and hard work by the entire mission team," said Capt. Cliff Harness, Delta IV Operations Integration chief. "This successful launch helps to ensure that vital NRO resources will continue to bolster our national defense while showcasing why the 45th Space Wing is the world's premiere gateway to space," said Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton, Jr., 45th Space Wing commander. "I look forward to many more spectacular launches as commander of this amazing team of professionals." The first Delta IV-Heavy EELV was launched Dec. 21, 2004 on a demonstration mission.
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral AFS FL (SPX) Jan 20, 2009
United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex 37 at CCAFS at 9:47 p.m. EST today. This was the first Delta IV Heavy mission for the NRO.

Designated NROL-26, the mission is in support of national defense. This was the third Delta IV Heavy launch in Delta program history. A Delta IV Heavy demonstration flight occurred in December 2004, and the first Air Force operational mission was launched in November 2007.

"This first Delta IV Heavy launch for the NRO is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication by the combined NRO, Air Force, supplier and ULA team," said Jim Sponnick, ULA Vice President, Delta Product Line.

"We appreciate the support from our mission partners in achieving this milestone. ULA is pleased to contribute to our nation's security, and to continue our strong partnership with the NRO. We look forward to launching many more NRO missions on ULA's Delta IV Medium, Delta IV Heavy and Atlas V vehicles."

The ULA Delta IV Heavy vehicle featured a center common booster core with two strap-on common booster cores. Each common booster core was powered by the RS-68 cryogenic engine. An RL10B-2 cryogenic engine powered the second stage.

Both engines are built by Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne. The payload was encased by a 5-meter diameter (16.7-foot diameter) aluminum, tri-sector payload fairing. ULA constructed the Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle in Decatur, Ala.

This was the first launch for ULA in 2009. ULA's next launch is NASA's NOAA-N Prime mission currently scheduled for Feb. 4, aboard a Delta II from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., Harlingen, Tex. and San Diego, Calif. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

Related Links
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Planetspace Files Protest Against Competition In Space
Chicago IL (SPX) Jan 14, 2009
PlanetSpace has filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) a protest to the selection decision of NASA under the ISS Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) competition, RFP NNJ08ZBG001R.







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