|Air Force Titan IV-BMILSTAR Launch a Success |
Air Force Titan IV-B/MILSTAR Launch a Success
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida -- February 28, 2001 (AFPN) -- The U.S. Air Force successfully launched a Titan IV-B rocket carrying a MILSTAR satellite from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., on Feb. 27.
After three burns over a six-and-a-half-hour-period, the Centaur upper stage delivered the satellite to its intended orbit 22,300 miles above the equator. The Centaur and the satellite were under the control of the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.
"The satellite is performing as expected," said Col. Greg Miller, MILSTAR satellite program manager at Schriever. He added that after a 120-day checkout period the satellite will begin providing critical communications to U.S. military forces around the world.
With the Titan IV-B rocket nicknamed "Gus," this launch marked the symbolic return to flight of Lt. Col. Virgil "Gus" Grissom. Members of the 45th Space Wing's launch squadrons often nickname the boosters after space pioneers or icons. The idea to use Grissom, one of the original Mercury 7 and the first Air Force astronaut to fly, belonged to Capt. Reece Stephenson, 45th Operations Support Squadron here.
MILSTAR is a joint service satellite communications system that will provide secure, jam resistant worldwide communications to meet the essential wartime requirements for high priority military users. The multi-satellite constellation will link command authorities with a wide variety of resources, including ships, submarines, aircraft and ground stations. Each MILSTAR satellite serves as a smart "switchboard" in space by directing traffic from terminal to terminal anywhere on the Earth. (Courtesy of Air Force Space Command News Service)