Tag Archives: Delta IV

Combat support

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the eighth installment of the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite for the United States Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 December 7 at 6:53 p.m. EDT. This is ULA’s 11th launch in 2016 and the 114th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the eighth installment of the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite for the United States Air Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-37
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the eighth installment of the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite for the United States Air Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-37

«Thank you to the U.S. Air Force and industry team whose flawless execution enabled today’s successful launch of the WGS-8 mission», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Custom Services. «Last week ULA celebrated our anniversary and 10 years of 100% mission success. This evening’s launch epitomizes why our customers continue to entrust ULA to deliver our nation’s most crucial space capabilities».

This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium+ (5, 4) configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) powered by one common booster core and four solid rocket motors built by Orbital ATK. The common booster core was powered by an RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine producing 705,250 pounds of thrust at sea level. A single RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine powered the second stage. The booster and upper stage engines are both built by Aerojet Rocketdyne. ULA constructed the Delta IV Medium+ (5,4) launch vehicle in Decatur, Alabama.

The U.S. Air Force's eighth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite, encapsulated in a 16.4-foot/5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV booster at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex (SLC)-37
The U.S. Air Force’s eighth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite, encapsulated in a 16.4-foot/5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV booster at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex (SLC)-37

WGS-8, the second Block II Follow-on satellite, supports communications links in the X-band and Ka-band spectra. The WGS-8 satellite will be able filter and downlink up to 8.088 GHz of bandwidth. WGS satellites are an important element of a new high-capacity satellite communications system providing enhanced communications capability to our troops in the field.

The EELV program was established by the U.S. 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.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 110 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

Delta IV WGS-8 Launch Highlights

 

Surveillance Network

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the AFSPC-6 mission for the United States Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 August 19 at 12:52 a.m. EDT. This is ULA’s seventh launch in 2016 and the 110th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

ULA's Delta IV rocket lifts off with the AFSPC-6 mission for the United States Air Force
ULA’s Delta IV rocket lifts off with the AFSPC-6 mission for the United States Air Force

«Thank you to the ULA, Air Force and industry partners for the outstanding teamwork and flawless execution that made today’s mission a success», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Custom Services. «This morning’s AFSPC-6 launch is a prime example of why our customers continue to place their trust us to launch our nation’s crucial space capabilities».

This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) powered by one common booster core. The common booster core was powered by an RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine producing 702,000 pounds/ 318,422 kg of thrust. A single RL10B liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine powered the second stage. The booster and upper stage engines are both built by Aerojet Rocketdyne. ULA constructed the Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) launch vehicle in Decatur, Alabama.

The AFSPC-6 mission consists of twin Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) spacecraft, built by Orbital ATK. The new satellites will join the first two GSSAP spacecraft launched approximately two years ago aboard a Delta IV launch vehicle. GSSAP is a space-based capability that collects space situational awareness data, allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects. It has a clear, unobstructed, and distinct vantage point for viewing resident space objects orbiting earth in a near-geosynchronous orbit without the weather or atmosphere disruptions that limit ground-based observations. The data from GSSAP greatly improves our ability to rapidly detect, warn, characterize and attribute disturbances to space systems in the geosynchronous environment.

The Air Force's AFSPC-6 payload, encapsulated inside a 4-meter diameter payload fairing, is transported and mated to a Delta IV rocket at Space Launch Complex-37
The Air Force’s AFSPC-6 payload, encapsulated inside a 4-meter diameter payload fairing, is transported and mated to a Delta IV rocket at Space Launch Complex-37

ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V OSIRIS-REx spacecraft for NASA. The launch is scheduled for September 8 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense (DoD) 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.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

Delta IV AFSPC-6 Launch Highlights

In preparation for launch, the Mobile Service Tower is rolled back from a Delta IV rocket carrying the AFSPC-6 mission
In preparation for launch, the Mobile Service Tower is rolled back from a Delta IV rocket carrying the AFSPC-6 mission

Payload for the NRO

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6 on February 10 at 3:40 a.m. PST. Designated NROL-45, the mission is in support of national defense. This is ULA’s second launch in 2016 and the 105th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

The mission will be launched for the National Reconnaissance Office in support of national defense
The mission will be launched for the National Reconnaissance Office in support of national defense

«Congratulations to the ULA team and our U.S. Air Force and NRO partners on the launch of NROL-45», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Custom Services. «This is our second successful launch within five days for our U.S. government customer, a testament to our outstanding teamwork and focus on 100 percent mission success, one launch at a time. ULA is proud to be entrusted with safely and reliably delivering our nation’s most critical space assets to orbit».

This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium+ (5,2) configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) using a single ULA common booster core powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A main engine along with two Orbital ATK GEM-60 solid rocket motors. The upper stage was powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine with the satellite encapsulated in a 5-meter-diameter composite payload fairing.

ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V OA-6 Cygnus International Space Station resupply mission, flown for Orbital ATK under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. The launch is targeted for March 22 from Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense (DoD) 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.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

 

 

A Delta IV rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex-6 carrying the NROL-45 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office

 

Rocket Engine Ban

According to DefenseNews, the Pentagon late last week refused to waive a law banning the use of Russian rocket engines for military satellite launches, rejecting a plea from United Launch Alliance (ULA). ULA, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that provides spacecraft launch services to the U.S. government, has threatened to skip an upcoming Air Force competition for satellite launches unless it gets some relief from the ban. ULA relies on the Russian RD-180 rocket engine to power its Atlas V rocket, although it also builds a Delta IV rocket powered by U.S. company Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RS-68 engine.

The ULA uses Russian RD-180 rocket engines to power its Atlas 5 rocket (Photo: ULA)
The ULA uses Russian RD-180 rocket engines to power its Atlas 5 rocket (Photo: ULA)

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is the other potential competitor for the Air Force’s GPS III Launch Services solicitation, part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. SpaceX has invested heavily over the past few years to develop its own Merlin engine to power its Falcon 9 rocket. Proposals for GPS III Launch Services are due November 16.

In response to recent Russian aggression, particularly Moscow’s annexation of Crimea last year, lawmakers in the fiscal 2015 defense budget banned the use of Russian RD-180 rocket engines for military satellite launches after 2019.

The Pentagon remains committed to maintaining two sources of launch services to ensure access to space, according to Lieutenant Commander Courtney Hillson, spokeswoman for the deputy secretary of defense. Department of Defense (DoD) will continue to evaluate the need for a waiver and consider a range of options, including possible sole-source contracts, to keep both companies in business, she continued.

«We are not planning at this time to issue a waiver lifting the prohibition against award of an EELV space launch services contract to a contractor intending to use a Russian manufactured engine, although we will continue to evaluate the need for such waiver, if deemed necessary», Hillson said in a statement emailed to Defense News on October 13.

«We will continue to work with the Administration and Congress to maintain assured access to space, to achieve the mutual goal of a healthy and competitive industrial base, and to ensure a rapid transition away from the Russian RD-180 engine».

 

Wideband Global SATCOM

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket successfully launched the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force at 8:07 p.m. EDT on July 23 from Space Launch Complex-37. This is ULA’s seventh launch in 2015 and the second successful ULA launch in just eight days. It marks ULA’s 98th successful one-at-a-time launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

A Delta IV rocket lifts off carrying the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite for the U.S. Air Force
A Delta IV rocket lifts off carrying the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite for the U.S. Air Force

«Kudos to the U.S. Air Force and all of our mission partners on today’s successful launch and orbital delivery of the WGS-7 satellite. The ULA team is honored to work with these premier U.S. government and industry mission teammates and to contribute to the WGS enhanced communications capabilities to the warfighter», said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. «The team continues to emphasize reliability, and one launch at a time focus on mission success to meet our customer’s needs».

This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium-plus (5,4) configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) using a single ULA common booster core powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A main engine, along with four Orbital ATK GEM-60 solid rocket motors. The upper stage was powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine with the satellite encapsulated in a five-meter-diameter composite payload fairing.

Wideband Global SATCOM provides anytime, anywhere communication for the warfighter through broadcast, multicast and point-to-point connections. WGS provides essential communications services, allowing Combatant Commanders to exert command and control of their tactical forces, from peacetime to military operations. WGS is the only military satellite communications system that can support simultaneous X and Ka band communications.

In preparation for launch from Space Complex-37, the Mobile Service Tower or MST is rolled back from the ULA Delta IV rocket carrying the WGS-7 mission for the U.S. Air Force
In preparation for launch from Space Complex-37, the Mobile Service Tower or MST is rolled back from the ULA Delta IV rocket carrying the WGS-7 mission for the U.S. Air Force

ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V MUOS-4 mission for the United States Navy, scheduled for August 31 from Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

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.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 95 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

The Air Force's seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, encapsulated inside a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV rocket at Space Launch Complex-37
The Air Force’s seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, encapsulated inside a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV rocket at Space Launch Complex-37

 

Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS)

WGS-7, the first Block II Follow-on satellite, supports communications links in the X-band and Ka-band spectra. While Block I and II satellites can instantaneously filter and downlink up to 4.575 MHz from 39 primary channels, WGS-7 can filter and downlink up to 5.375 MHz from 46 primary channels.

As with the Block II satellites, WGS-7 includes a high-bandwidth Radio Frequency (RF) bypass capability, which allows for larger bandwidth allocations to users. Depending on the mix of ground terminals, data rates, and modulation and coding schemes employed, a single WGS satellite can support data transmission rates between 2.1 and 3.6 Gbps.

WGS-7 also allows for up to ~800 MHz of additional bandwidth through the use of «Redundant Port Activation».

The Air Force's seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite is encapsulated inside a Delta IV 5-meter payload fairing
The Air Force’s seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite is encapsulated inside a Delta IV 5-meter payload fairing

WGS has 19 independent coverage areas, 18 of which can be positioned throughout its field-of-view. This includes eight steerable/shapeable X-band beams formed by separate transmit/receive phased arrays; 10 Ka-band beams served by independently steerable diplexed antennas; and one transmit/receive X-band Earth-coverage beam. WGS can tailor coverage areas and connect X-band and Ka-band users anywhere within its field-of-view.

Five globally located Army Wideband SATCOM Operations Centers provide 24/7 payload monitoring and command and control of the WGS constellation. Each Global Satellite Configuration and Control Element has the capability to control up to three satellites at a time.

Spacecraft platform control and anomaly resolution is accomplished by the third Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

 

The U.S. Air Force’s seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, encapsulated inside a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV rocket at Space Launch Complex-37

 

A Delta IV rocket lifts off carrying the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite for the U.S. Air Force. Wideband Global SATCOM provides anytime, anywhere communication for the warfighter through broadcast, multicast and point-to-point connections