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Pratt And Whitney Rocketdyne Rocket Engine Powers Latest GPS Satellite Into Space

File image.
by Staff Writers
Canoga Park Ca (SPX) Mar 18, 2008
A new Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite was carried into orbit Saturday by a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket powered by a Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne RS-27A rocket engine.

The RS-27A performed perfectly as it boosted the ULA Delta II and its GPSIIR-19 payload from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, marking the 221st flight for the RS-27 family of rocket engine systems and the 332nd Delta mission. Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) is a United Technologies Corp. company

"Today's launch continues our partnership with the ULA and the U.S. Air Force as the GPSII constellation is modernized and improved," said RS-27A program manager Elizabeth Jones. "We've provided first-stage power for every GPSII mission and we will continue to work hard to ensure the critical missions of our customers are successful."

During the mission, the RS-27A engine system fired for nearly four and a half minutes and produced 200,000 pounds of thrust before transitioning to the rocket's second stage power source.

related report
ATK Technologies Support Successful Launch Of GPS Satellite
Alliant Techsystems has helped support the successful launch of the United Launch Alliance's Delta II rocket carrying the U.S. Air Force's sixth modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR (GPS IIR-M) navigation satellite built by Lockheed Martin.

Nine GEM-40 solid propulsion strap-on boosters manufactured in ATK's Salt Lake City, Utah, facility provided augmented thrust for the launch. ATK's Clearfield, Utah, facility produced the composite cases for the GEM-40 boosters using an automated filament winding process developed and refined through its 40-year-heritage in composite manufacturing.

Six of the boosters ignited at lift-off with the first-stage main engine and provided over 824,000 pound maximum thrust for the launch vehicle. Just over one minute later, the remaining three boosters ignited to provide an additional 427,000 pound maximum thrust. The spent motors were jettisoned from the rocket as it continued its ascent.

Following burnout and separation of the GEM-40 boosters, STAR motors produced in ATK's Elkton, Md., facility were used to complete the Delta II boost phase and spacecraft orbit insertion. One hour and five minutes into the Delta II operation, an ATK-produced STAR 48B rocket motor acting as the Delta II third stage fired.

Following the motor's 85-second burn, the satellite, designated GPS IIR-19(M), was separated from the launch vehicle and allowed to coast. After a two-day coast period, ATK's STAR 37FM motor will be ignited via an ATK Model 2134B safe-and-arm device, placing the GPS spacecraft in its final orbit within the GPS constellation.

The GPS Constellation Today
The GPS constellation provides critical situational awareness and precision weapon guidance for the military and supports a wide range of civil, scientific and commercial functions -- from air traffic control to the Internet -- with precision location and timing information.

Lockheed Martin and its navigation payload provider ITT of Clifton, N.J. designed and built 21 IIR spacecraft and subsequently modernized eight of those spacecraft designated Block IIR-M for the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.

GPS IIR-M satellites includes an upgrade from the baseline GPS IIR design that incorporates two new military signals for enhanced accuracy and a second civil signal on a different frequency. This upgrade resulted in a load, which is managed via a 3-foot x 5-foot equipment panel with an enhanced thermal control architecture that implements a network of embedded heat pipes for efficient heat acquisition and distribution.

ATK's Beltsville, Md., facilities fabricated and tested the upgraded panels under contract to Lockheed Martin, contributing to the overall mission success of the high profile GPS IIR-M capability upgrade.

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United Launch Alliance Launches Delta 2 For US Air Force GPS Replacement Satellite
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Mar 16, 2008
United Launch Alliance successfully launched a Delta II expendable launch vehicle today from Space Launch Complex 17-A at 2:09 a.m., EDT carrying the Air Force's GPS IIR-19(M) satellite. This launch marks the first mission for the Air Force from the cape in 2008.

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