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04-Oct-02 | NAVSTAR delays

Over the past year or more, NAVSTAR launches have been continually pushed into the future, primarily because the GPS constellation is healthy and not in need of any more spares, but also due to safety-related upgrades to the Delta II self-destruct system. If NAVSTAR IIR-8 and NASA’s ICESAT/CHIPSat both manage to launch this year, it will bring the grand total of 2002 Delta II launches to 5, the slowest year since 1994-1995, a two-year drought of only 3 launches per year. It may be mere coincidence, but the quiet schedule has proved convenient for Boeing, which has conscripted much of the Delta team into preparations for the first flight of the new Delta IV.

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