Lockheed-Martin Titan IVB Rocket Launches DSP-21 Military Satellite
By Cliff Lethbridge
Photo Credit: Spaceline, Inc.
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL (August 6, 2001) - A Lockheed-Martin Titan IVB rocket successfully launched the DSP-21 satellite at 3:28 a.m. EDT today from Launch Complex 40. As is typically the case with launch preparations for the largest and most powerful U.S. unmanned rocket, the launch experienced a number of lengthy delays due to a variety of technical concerns. The first official launch attempt was on July 21, but was scrubbed to allow troubleshooting of components within the rocket's guidance system. Today's launch occurred on time with no delays, despite the fact that Tropical Storm Barry had produced unsettled weather in the Cape Canaveral area for several days and at the exact moment of the Titan IVB launch was pressing inward along the Florida Panhandle near Panama City.
The rocket carried a Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite into space. Designated DSP-21, the satellite is designed to provide early warning of a ballistic missile attack and detect nuclear detonations across a large portion of the globe. The TRW-built DSP-21 will be placed in a geosynchronous orbit 22,233 statute miles above Earth. The satellite weighed about 5,250 pounds at launch and once deployed will measure 32.8 feet long by 22 feet in diameter. Solar arrays aboard the satellite are capable of generating 1,485 watts of electricity. The health of the satellite was not immediately available, but initial post-launch reports indicated that the Titan IVB launch vehicle performed flawlessly.
Copyright © 2001 by Spaceline, Inc.