Saturday, September 22, 2007

Team V launches heritage Delta II rocket, image satellite

by Senior Airman Stephen Cadette
30th Space Wing Public Affairs

A Delta II bearing the WorldView-1 spacecraft launches from Space Launch Complex-2 West at 11:35 a.m. on Sept. 18. The DigitalGloble WorldView-1 spacecraft is a weather mapping satellite launched on the Air Force's 60th anniversary. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joe Davila)

The launch of a Boeing Delta II rocket carrying the DigitalGlobe WorldView-1 satellite at 11:35 a.m., Sept. 18 from Space Launch Complex-2 on north Vandenberg confirmed a milestone success for Team Vandenberg and the Air Force.

The 4th Space Launch Squadron and 2nd Range Operations Squadron were on console supporting the launch by Boeing Launch Services with associated support services from United Launch Alliance.

Col. Steve Tanous, 30th Space Wing commander, was the spacelift commander for this launch.

"What better way to celebrate our 60 years of service to this nation than to have the opportunity to launch a payload into space," Colonel Tanous said. "The Air Force has been involved in exploring the high frontier since the beginning of the 'space age' and we will continue to turn today's science fiction into reality.

"Vandenberg has had a major role in the space and missile fields and will continue to do so for years to come," he said.

The successful launch took place on the Air Force's 60th Anniversary and made the 60-year Anniversary more special for the men and women of the 30th Space Wing.

This launch also marks the 75th consecutive successful Delta II launch from both coasts dating back to May 5, 1997, and it is the Air Force 52nd consecutive succesful operational launch.

The Delta II had nine motors strapped to its main stage, increasing its lift capability. It was expected to deploy the WorldView-1 spacecraft approximately 1 hour, 13 minutes after liftoff.

The WorldView-1 satellite will provide high-resolution images of Earth. It's capable of collecting, storing and down-linking more frequently updated imagery than any other commercial imaging satellite in orbit, according to a Boeing press release.