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Boeing Delta IV Launch

17 March 2003

On March 10 a Boeing Delta IV rocket successfully delivered to space the first satellite for the U.S. Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, or EELV program.

A Delta IV Medium launch vehicle lifted off at 7:59 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., carrying the Defense Satellite Communications System spacecraft, DSCS III A3.

Approximately 42 minutes after liftoff, the Delta IV successfully deployed the spacecraft to a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

""Today's successful launch is a milestone for Boeing and the Delta team,"" said Will Trafton, vice president and general manager, Boeing Expendable Launch Systems. ""We're proud to begin launch service for the Air Force EELV program, and we're looking forward to three additional Delta IV launches this year that include another DSCS III launch, the first launch of our Delta IV Heavy vehicle, and the first mission from our new launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.""

The new generation Delta IV launch vehicle features a four-meter composite payload fairing a well as other extensive use of composite structures.

Rohacell PMI foams are used for a number of lightweight components such as the payload fairing, the payload adapter, the interstage, the center body and the thermal shield, chosen for their mechanical performance and resistance to compression creep during the high temperature cure. Using sandwiches based on PMI foams allows one step co-curing of the components to cut manufacturing costs. Thermoformed rigid foam cores are used as a mandrel and as a structural member for the large sandwich structures. Five Delta IV launches are planned for 2003 including a Delta IV Heavy.

ATK Composites supplied the thermal shield, centerbody and skirt structures that house core vehicle components, and the interstage between the core vehicle and the second-stage engine.