December 13, 2019

Air Force satellite duo mated to Delta 4 rocket for next week’s launch


If you would like to see more articles like this please support our coverage of the space program by becoming a Spaceflight Now Member. If everyone who enjoys our website helps fund it, we can expand and improve our coverage further.
File photo of first GSSAP payload delivery to pad in 2014. Credit: ULA
File photo of first GSSAP payload delivery to pad in 2014. Credit: ULA

CAPE CANAVERAL — Two space informants to track objects in geosynchronous orbit have been mounted atop their Delta 4 launch vehicle for liftoff Aug. 19.

The United Launch Alliance rocket will carry the pair of Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program, or GSSAP, satellites 22,300 miles above the Earth for the U.S. Air Force.

The identical spacecraft, built by Orbital ATK, are equipped with optical payloads to determine the location, orbit, size and status of space objects like living and dead satellites, rocket bodies and debris. Such data will improve the military’s ability to warn against potential collisions and monitor the health of critical U.S. assets.

In preparation for flight, the payload was delivered to Cape Canaveral’s Complex 37, hoisted into the pad gantry and attached to the rocket’s upper stage Aug. 5.

The completed launcher stands 206 feet tall.

File photo of the Delta 4 poised for first GSSAP launch in 2014. Credit: ULA
File photo of the Delta 4 poised for first GSSAP launch in 2014. Credit: ULA

The Delta 4 Medium+ (4,2) rocket will deliver the GSSAP satellites directly into geosynchronous orbit for deployment about six hours after liftoff.

The Aug. 19 launch will occur some time during a period of 12 midnight to 4 a.m. EDT (0400-0800 GMT). The usable launch window is hidden within that four-hour period.

Also successfully complete, the Flight Readiness Review has been conducted and affirmed the launch date. The FRR was chaired by Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Space and Missile Systems Center commander and Air Force program executive officer for space.

This will be the 375th Delta rocket launch since 1960, the 33rd Delta 4 since debuting in 2002 and the 14th Medium+ (4,2) version with two solid-fuel boosters. It’s also United Launch Alliance’s 110th flight since 2006 and seventh this year.

See earlier Delta 375 coverage.

Our Delta archive.


If you would like to see more articles like this please support our coverage of the space program by becoming a Spaceflight Now Member. If everyone who enjoys our website helps fund it, we can expand and improve our coverage further.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!