QuickBird launch timeline SPACEFLIGHT NOW Updated: October 15, 2001
The Delta 2 rocket's main engine and twin vernier steering thrusters are started moments before launch. The three strap-on solid rocket motors are ignited at T-0 to begin the mission.
The three Alliant TechSystems-built solid rocket motors consume all their propellant and burn out.
The three spent ground-started solid rocket boosters are jettisoned to fall into the Pacific Ocean. The spent casings remained attached until the vehicle passed into preset safety downrange drop zone at an altitude of 16.9 miles.
Main Engine Cutoff
After consuming its RP-1 fuel and liquid oxygen, the Rocketdyne RS-27A first stage main engine is shut down at an altitude of 55.7 miles. The vernier engines cut off moments later.
The Delta rocket's first stage is separated now, having completed its job. The spent stage will fall into the Pacific Ocean.
Second Stage Ignition
With the stage jettisoned, the rocket's second stage takes over. The Aerojet AJ10-118K liquid-fueled engine ignites for the first of two firings needed to boost the upper stage and QuickBird spacecraft into the proper orbit.
Jettison Nose Cone
The 10-foot diameter composite payload fairing that protected the QuickBird satellite atop the Delta 2 during the atmospheric ascent is jettisoned is two halves at an altitude of 68.4 miles.
Second Stage Cutoff 1
The second stage engine shuts down to complete its first firing of the launch. The rocket and attached QuickBird spacecraft now begin a 44-minute coast period before the second stage reignites. The orbit achieved should be 100 by 255 nautical miles, inclined 98.1 deg.
Second Stage Restart
Delta's second stage engine reignites for a short firing to raise and circularize the orbital altitude. The restart happens at a planned altitude of 252.2 miles.
Second Stage Cutoff 2
The second stage shuts down after reaching an orbit of 250.2 by 254.8 nautical miles inclined 97.2 degrees.
The Boeing Delta 2 rocket deploys the QuickBird commercial Earth-imaging spacecraft into orbit DigitalGlobe to complete the 288th flight of a Delta vehicle.
Ride a rocket!
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