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United Launch Alliance Launches 2nd COSMO Satellite

Developed by Thales Alenia Space, Italia for the Italian Space Agency and the Ministry of Defense, COSMO-2 is the second of the four COSMO-SkyMed satellites. COSMO-SkyMed 3 will be launched about a Delta II vehicle from SLC-2 in the second half of 2008.
by Staff Writers
Vandenberg AFB CA (SPX) Dec 10, 2007
A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket successfully launched the second Italian-built Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean Basin Observation or COSMO-SkyMed 2 satellite at 6:31 p.m. PST, today. Blasting off from Space Launch Complex 2, it marked the third successful Delta II vehicle launch by Boeing Launch Services, a division of Boeing Network and Space Systems, of a commercial satellite.

"ULA is pleased to have successfully launched the second of four critical Earth observation systems in this series for our customer," said Mark Wilkins, ULA vice president of Delta programs. "Our launch team is comprised of the most experienced engineers and technicians in the industry and we look forward to continuing to provide reliable, innovative and cost effective launch services for many future commercial launches."

The ULA Delta II 7420-10 configuration vehicle featured an ULA first stage booster powered by a Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne RS-27A main engine and four Alliant Techsystems (ATK) strap-on solid rocket boosters. An Aerojet AJ10-118K engine powered the second stage. The payload was encased by a 10-foot-diameter composite payload fairing.

ULA began processing the Delta II launch vehicle in Decatur, Ala., nearly two years ago. In late August, the 1st stage arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base from Decatur, followed by the 2nd stage later early October. The vehicle was erected on the stand at the pad Oct. 9, with solid rocket booster installation complete mid-October. Hundreds of ULA technicians, engineers and management worked to prepare the vehicle for the COSMO-2 mission.

Developed by Thales Alenia Space, Italia for the Italian Space Agency and the Ministry of Defense, COSMO-2 is the second of the four COSMO-SkyMed satellites. COSMO-SkyMed 3 will be launched about a Delta II vehicle from SLC-2 in the second half of 2008.

Each satellite is a constellation of four radar satellites and is equipped with a high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar operating in X-band. The overall objective of the program is global Earth observation and relevant data responding to the needs of the military and scientific community, as well as to the public demand for environmental control.

ULA's next launch, currently scheduled for no earlier than Dec. 10, is the L-24 satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office aboard an Atlas V from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

Formed in 2006, ULA combines the successful Atlas and Delta expendable launch vehicle programs offering cost-effective and reliable launch services to U.S. government customers, including the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other commercial organizations.

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, Texas and San Diego, Calif. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

earlier related report
Boeing Launches Second Italian Earth Observation Satellite
Boeing successfully launched the second of four Italian Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation (COSMO) SkyMed spacecraft aboard a Delta II rocket for Thales Alenia Space Italia. Lift-off occurred at 6:31 p.m. Pacific time from Pad SLC-2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. A Delta II 7420-10 configuration launch vehicle procured from United Launch Alliance deployed the COSMO-SkyMed spacecraft to low-Earth orbit approximately 58 minutes after liftoff.

"This successful Delta launch for the COSMO-SkyMed program once again illustrates the healthy partnership Boeing has with Italian industry and with the United Launch Alliance," said Roger Krone, president of Network and Space Systems, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "The work we do with Thales Alenia Space on manned spaceflight systems and satellite missions reaffirms the value of the expertise TAS brings to the global space industry."

Boeing Launch Services launched the first COSMO-SkyMed satellite in June and plans to support the launch of the third satellite in 2008.

"The launch of the second COSMO-SkyMed satellite moves this significant project for Italian science, commerce and security another step closer to completion," said Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager, Boeing Space Exploration. "Congratulations to the COSMO-SkyMed launch team for another successful mission of the reliable Delta II, providing assured access to space."

Thales Alenia Space Italia developed the COSMO-SkyMed program for the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence. It is an end-to-end Earth observation dual-use (civil and military) system comprised of four medium-sized satellites and supporting ground stations for orbit control systems and data reception and processing. The system will take imagery of the Earth using an X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument capable of operating in all visibility conditions at the request of institutional and commercial users, including members of the civil and scientific, and defense communities.

Boeing has a time-honored relationship with Thales Alenia Space. The company has provided Delta II tanks since 2001 and built many elements for the International Space Station, including the Multi-purpose Pressurized Logistics Modules, Cupola and Harmony Node 2. Recently, the Harmony Node 2 module was installed on the International Space Station, for which Boeing is the prime contractor.

earlier related report
ATK Propulsion and Composite Technologies Help Launch COSMO Satellite
Alliant Techsystems propulsion and composite technologies supported the successful launch of the United Launch Alliance's Delta II rocket procured by Boeing Launch Services carrying an Italian COSMO-SkyMed-2 Earth-imaging satellite. This was the second launch of a COSMO satellite this year. SkyMed-1 was launched in June.

Four 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. This launch marked the tenth ATK 10-foot composite fairing flown on a Delta II mission.

Launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the boosters ignited at lift-off and provided over 448,800 pound maximum thrust for the launch vehicle. The spent motors were jettisoned from the rocket as it continued its ascent.

Throughout its mission, COSMO-SkyMed-2 will rely on ATK's advanced composite waveguide technology to provide reliable RF signal transmissions throughout the satellite structure. ATK's metal-plated composite waveguide provides more than 50 percent weight savings compared to traditional aluminum waveguide technology. It also provides critical dimensional stability in the challenging thermal environments the spacecraft will experience on-orbit.

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ATK Receives Contract And Delivers 100th Orion Solid Rocket Motor
Minneapolis MN (SPX) Dec 07, 2007
Alliant Techsystems has received a $35 million contract from Orbital Sciences to continue providing Orion motors, and also celebrated the delivery of its 100th flight set of Orion rocket motors.

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