Space and astronomy news and information for the American Southwest. Coverage includes Vandenberg AFB rocket and missile launches.

Delta II Launch Successful

Vandenberg News Release

2008 October 24

VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. - Vandenberg AFB successfully launched a Delta II rocket today at 7:28 p.m. The rocket took off from Space Launch Complex-2 carrying the Thales Alenia-Space COSMO-SkyMed 3 Satellite.

The 30th Space Wing team supported the United Launch Alliance in preparing for the launch a mere six weeks after the successful launch of the GeoEye-1 satellite in September. Normally SLC-2 crews have three to four months to prepare for a launch.

Col. David Buck, 30th Space Wing commander, was the spacelift commander for this mission.

"People don't always think about it, but this is rocket science, and our Airmen and industry partners make it look easy," Colonel Buck said. "I'm blown away by the professionalism and dedication of all of Team Vandenberg."

The Delta II is an expendable launch, medium-lift vehicle. It carries civil and commercial payloads into low-earth, polar, geosynchronous transfer and stationary orbits. For approximately two decades, the Delta II has been a workhorse in the world of spacelift with 134 successful launches.

The COSMO-SkyMed 3 satellite, entirely developed and produced in Italy, is an end-to-end Earth observation dual-use (civilian and military) system composed of four satellites and ground stations. The first two COSMO-SkyMed satellites were launched at Vandenberg in June and December 2007.

"Once again Team Vandenberg was part of an international effort to assure our allies a gateway to space," Colonel Buck said. "Each launch provides unique challenges to overcome, whether it's an engineering hurdle or language barrier. When it comes to launch night, however, Vandenberg delivers."

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