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The Rocket That Launched GPS Retires

Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 28 Sep 2018

Last weekend the rocket that launched the first GPS satellite into space retired. The Delta II, designed by McDonnell Douglas, entered service in 1989 and had its last mission on Saturday 2nd September.

In 1987 McDonnell Douglas signed a contract with the U.S. Air Force to provide seven Delta IIs to launch the Global Positioning System satellites. These had originally been intended to launch on the Space Shuttle but the Challenger explosion put paid to those plans. The contract was later extended for a total of 20 GPS satellites

The last GPS launch atop a Delay II took place in 2009 but the rocket continued to be used until last weekend. It launched a record breaking 155 times and had only two failures, Koreasat 1 in 1995, and GPS IIR-1 in 1997.

Source: United Launch Alliance

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Posted by druck on Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:44 pm Reply with quote

It's first flight as a commercial launcher as in 1989, but the rockets were based on a Thor ballistic missile with extended tanks, mated to engines left over from the Saturn 1B's of the Apollo program - don't lose it, reuse it!

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