|Posted: December 1, 2004T-0:00:05.5Engine startThe three Rocketdyne RS-68 main engines begin to ignite as the liquid hydrogen fuel valves are opened, creating a large fireball at the base of the rocket. The engines powers up to full thrust of 102% for a computer-controlled checkout before liftoff.T-0:00:00.0LiftoffThe hold-down bolts are released and the inaugural flight of Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket is underway from Cape Canaveral's pad 37B. The three umbilical swing arms extending from the launch pad tower retract from the rocket at T-0 seconds.T+0:00:50.0Begin engine throttlingThe center Common Booster Core engine throttles down to 58% thrust over the next five seconds. The booster stage conserves fuel while the outer two CBCs remain at full throttle.T+0:01:20.9Max-QThe vehicle experiences the region of maximum dynamic pressure. The rocket hits Mach 1 about three seconds later as the three liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engines continue to fire.T+0:02:33.0Roll maneuverThe rocket begins a 50-second roll maneuver to a "wings-level" orientation as it heads downrange, arcing over the Atlantic.T+0:03:54.7Outer CBC throttlingWith engine shutdown coming up for the outer Common Booster Cores, the RS-68 powerplants start throttling down from 102 percent. They will achieve a 58 percent throttle in five seconds.T+0:04:05.3Outer CBC shutdownThe engines on the two outer Common Booster Cores complete their firings and shut down.T+0:04:08.4Outer CBC jettisonThe outer Common Booster Cores separate from the center stage to fall into the Atlantic Ocean.T+0:04:09.3Engine throttle upAfter operating at minimum throttle for the past three minutes, the center Common Booster Core's RS-68 main engine revs up to 102% power.T+0:05:17.0Engine throttle downThe center Common Booster Core throttles its engine down again to 58% to prepare for shutdown.T+0:05:33.4Main engine cutoffThe center CBC has consumed all of its fuel and the RS-68 engine cuts off.T+0:05:41.0Stage separationThe Common Booster Core first stage and the attached interstage are separated in one piece from the Delta 4's upper stage. The upper stage engine's extendible nozzle drops into position as the first stage separates.T+0:05:54.4Second stage ignitionThe upper stage begins the first of several firings using its Pratt & Whitney RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine to reach the desired orbit for the DemoSat spacecraft payload.T+0:06:04.5Nose cone jettisonThe five-meter diameter payload fairing that protected the DemoSat cargo atop the Delta 4 during the atmospheric ascent is no longer needed, allowing it to be jettisoned in two halves.T+0:12:47.8Upper stage shutdownThe RL10 upper stage engine shuts down to complete its first firing of the launch. The rocket and attached satellite reach a parking orbit of 99.94 by 134.8 nautical miles with an inclination of 28.8 degrees.T+0:15:45.0Nanosat sep signalThe command is issued to deploy the two university-built Nanosat spacecraft mounted to the side of DemoSat. The tiny nanosats physically separate at T+plus 16:23.0.T+0:20:29.5Restart upper stageThe upper stage reignites its RL10 engine to begin the trek from the initial parking orbit around Earth to the targeted geosynchronous orbit.T+0:28:31.6Upper stage shutdownThe second burn by the upper stage is completed with the new orbit achieved featuring a high point of 19,651 nautical miles, low point of 148.4 nautical miles and inclination of 27.3 degrees. The rocket begins a multi-hour coast through space to reach apogee where another engine burn will occur to circularize the orbit.T+5:37:13.0Restart upper stageThe upper stage restarts its cryogenic engine to finish the task of boosting DemoSat into the intended orbit.T+5:40:27.3Upper stage shutdownThe powered phase of the Delta 4-Heavy's demonstration mission concludes. The upper stage begins using thrusters to orient itself to the proper payload deployment attitude.T+5:49:37.5Spacecraft separationThe DemoSat satellite simulator is released from the Delta 4-Heavy rocket's upper stage, completing the vehicle's test flight. The targeted orbit is circular at 19,623 nautical miles with an inclination of 10 degrees.Data source: Boeing.Gemini 12Gemini 12: The NASA Mission Reports covers the voyage of James Lovell and Buzz Aldrin that capped the Gemini program's efforts to prove the technologies and techniques that would be needed for the Apollo Moon landings. Includes CD-ROM.Choose your store: - - - STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. 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The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.Fallen Heroes Patch CollectionThe official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Delta 4-Heavy hits snag on test flight SPACEFLIGHT NOWPosted: December 22, 2004The test launch of Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket began with a breath-taking blastoff from Cape Canaveral Tuesday afternoon but lower-than-expected performance during the initial minutes of flight ultimately caused the mission to fall short of its intended orbit. Nonetheless, Boeing officials called the demonstration flight a success. The Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket ignites. Credit: Gene Blevins/LA Daily NewsThe 23-story rocket roared to life while enveloped in a hellish fire at pad 37B as free hydrogen from the three Rocketdyne RS-68 engines ignited. As the countdown reached zero, a dozen bolts that held the rocket to the pad for the past year popped and the 1.6-million pound vehicle thundered into a clear blue sky at 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT).The highly complex launcher, which takes three so-called Common Booster Cores and strapped them together to create a powerful triple-body rocket, ascended atop three pillars of super-hot golden flame, flickering more than 20-stories long.Gulping three tons of propellant per second, the engines won the battle against gravity to blast the rocket away from Earth as the powerplants raged at full throttle. Nearly four minutes after liftoff, tracking cameras following the launch showed the starboard and port boosters shut down their engines and peel away from the rocket's core. But the engine cutoff and subsequent booster separation came about 8 seconds prematurely, based on the advertised timeline.After the center booster finished firing and dropped away, the cryogenic upper stage of the Delta 4-Heavy ignited for what was supposed to be a 7-minute firing to reach an initial parking orbit around Earth. As the scheduled completion time for that burn came and went, there were indications that something was not right. The upper stage was being forced to fire much longer than anticipated to make up for a performance shortfall earlier in the launch.The unplanned overtime firing used fuel needed for later burns to reach geosynchronous orbit. The stage's final burn Tuesday evening was supposed to last three minutes and 14 seconds to inject its cargo into the desired orbit, but the motor ran out of fuel before completing the maneuver."I don't know the exact, final orbit or how much shorter the final burn was. We're going to look at the data and get those answers," Boeing vice president for Expendable Launch Systems, Dan Collins, said in an interview Tuesday night.Collins said it was too early to say exactly what triggered the performance shortfall."We're going to have to dig in to know for sure. I'm going to hold off comment until we have a chance to look at it in the morning. It's been a relatively long day. From the data we have seen, we are have high confidence that we are going to be able to track this down and make whatever adjustments are necessary. But you want to give it a day or so of looking at the data."The Air Force awarded Boeing a $141 million contract to conduct this demonstration flight of the Delta 4-Heavy as a means of testing the rocket before critical national security payloads begin flying aboard the vehicle. Two operational launches are scheduled for August and December 2005 carrying the final Defense Support Program missile warning satellite and a classified National Reconnaissance Office payload, respectively."I've spent the entire day with our customer...I can tell you we've got a very, very happy customer. We demonstrated all phases of this mission and we got a huge amount of data that allows us to move forward with high confidence towards the DSP mission next summer," Collins said. "I can't put words in the customer's mouth but everybody in the Mission Director's Center characterized the demonstration mission as really a truly great success. Our objective in this launch was to gather data and run through the entire mission profile. From that respect, we had a great day and a great flight. it is going take some data review for us to know exactly where we ended up." The Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket flies downrange on the power of its three Rocketdyne RS-68 main engines. Credit: Gene Blevins/LA Daily NewsThis was the fourth launch of the Delta 4 rocket family, which Boeing created as part of the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program for next-generation vehicles to loft government payloads over the next two decades. The Delta 4, which has flown previously in its medium-lift configuration with just one Common Booster Core, is joined in the EELV stable with Lockheed Martin's Atlas 5.Tuesday's launch featured a 13,383-pound instrumented satellite mockup, called DemoSat, as the rocket's main payload. The 6-foot tall, 4.5-foot diameter shiny aluminum barrel was filled with 60 brass rods for ballast. Sensors on the satellite collected data on the vibrations, temperatures and pressures during ascent, plus measure the shock felt at separation. Hitching a ride on the side of DemoSat was a pair of nanosatellites nicknamed Ralphie and Sparky. Built in collaboration between Arizona State University, New Mexico State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder, the canister-like nanosats were originally supposed to launch aboard a space shuttle mission in 2003. But the Columbia accident and grounding of the shuttle fleet led to the Air Force proposing an alternate route to orbit on Delta 4. The nanosats were deployed but their status was not immediately known. They were to operate for a day, conducting imaging, micropropulsion and intersatellite communications experiments before tumbling into the atmosphere.The Air Force decided to finance the test flight and not fly a real satellite after it became clear there wouldn't be a commercial customer to purchase the inaugural launch."The original strategy for demonstrating the Heavy capability was to utilize the perceived burgeoning commercial market. In 1998, this vehicle would have been a big player in what was projected back in those times. So the Air Force was in a great position. They were going to be able to benefit from the commercial launches," Collins said. "When that commercial launch market started to go away and signs that it wasn't going to allow the demonstration to happen, the Air Force stepped in and said 'hey, we've got some important payloads to go. We want to get data before we put those on top of the rocket.' So they came in and purchased an amendment to the development of the contract for this mission." Besides future military missions, Delta 4-Heavy is being studied along with Atlas 5, space shuttle-derived concepts and completely new space vehicles to launch missions in NASA's Vision for Space Exploration that aims to return astronauts to the moon and ultimately send the first humans to Mars. The Delta 4-Heavy is capable of delivering 48,000 pounds of cargo into low-Earth orbits, including that of the International Space Station, 28,000 pounds into geosynchronous transfer orbit used by communications satellites, 22,000 pounds for Trans Lunar Injection routes to the moon and 17,600 pounds on Mars-bound trajectories. "The biggest help we're being at this point is by providing (NASA) information about the system, what its growth possibilities are, where its limitations are, so that they have the best set of data to match up with planning an overall exploration program," Collins said of Boeing's ongoing discussions with NASA. "We're working hard with them but really in an information exchange situation and helping them get educated and smart on what the existing Delta capabilities are and then how Delta can grow." Additional coverage for subscribers:VIDEO:FROM LIFTOFF TO BOOSTER SEPARATION VIDEO:THE DELTA 4-HEAVY LAUNCH (SHORT VERSION) VIDEO:ONBOARD CAMERA RECORDS LAUNCH VIDEO:ONBOARD CAMERA SEES BOOSTER SEPARATION VIDEO:ONBOARD CAMERA CAPTURES FAIRING JETTISON AUDIO:LISTEN TO THE 68-MINUTE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE VIDEO:ANIMATION PROVIDES PREVIEW OF A DELTA 4-HEAVY LAUNCH VIDEO:RE-LIVE THE INAUGURAL DELTA 4 LAUNCH FROM 2002 VIDEO:ON-PAD FLIGHT READINESS ENGINE FIRING TEST VIDEO:TAKE TOUR OF LAUNCH PAD 37B Soviet SpaceFor the first time ever available in the West. Rocket & Space Corporation Energia: a complete pictorial history of the Soviet/Russian Space Program from 1946 to the present day all in full color. 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