Swansong of Delta IV Medium successfully launches second GPS III navsat

by | Aug 23, 2019 | Launches, Military space, Seradata News

The final launch of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Medium rocket successfully carried the second Global Positioning System III navigation satellite, GPS IIIA-2 (aka Magellan) into orbit for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.  The launch took place at 1306 GMT on 22 August 2019 from the Cape Canaveral launch site in Florida.

Its main engine and solid rockets firing, the final Delta IV Medium lifts from the pad. Courtesy: ULA

The Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) configuration vehicle included a 4-meter Payload Fairing and two Northrop Grumman solid rocket motors. The common booster core for Delta IV was powered by the RS-68A engine, and the Delta Cryogenic Second Stage was powered by the RL10B-2 engine, both supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne.
In the increasingly competitive market even in military launches has meant that it was uneconomic for the Delta IV rocket to continue. Its Delta IV Heavy derivative sibling will, however, carry on in operation.
The Delta IV and its marginally more competitive Atlas V stablemate are being retired in favour of their more economic partially reusable Vulcan Centaur rocket replacement.

The Delta IV Medium+ 4,2 fires itself and its GPS IIIA-2 payload across the Atlantic on its way to orbit. Courtesy: ULA

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