A Delta II rocket fired up the night sky to launch the latest GPS navigational satellite into space. Liftoff occurred at 2:55 a.m. EST. Twenty-five minutes later, the satellite was placed into an elliptical orbit almost 11,000 miles above the Earth.
The U.S. Air Force has used Boeing Delta rockets to place every GPS satellite into orbit since 1989. "There is no better way to start off the new year," says Will Hampton, director of Air Force Delta programs.
"This is the first Delta launch of 2001 and we are thrilled to see this long-time relationship between Boeing and the U.S. Air Force continue with great success."
The partnership began in 1974 when Boeing was awarded contracts to build developmental satellites and receiver sets. In 1987, the company won a contract to launch GPS satellites.
"Even after dozens of GPS missions since the initial launch we continue to work vigilantly with the Air Force, to ensure mission success," says Hampton. Currently, 28 operational satellites make up GPS constellation.
Delta Rocket Family
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ESA Continues Work On Galileo Pending EU's Deferred Decision
Paris - Jan. 18, 2001
Work on developing Galileo, Europe's global satellite navigation system, is continuing, following the endorsement Europe's Prime Ministers gave the programme at the European Council meeting in Nice, France last November. The European Transport Council had been due to give Galileo its formal approval on 21 December, but agreed to defer the decision until April to allow further deliberations on precisely how to implement the Euro 3.2 billion project.
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