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23-Aug-00 | Delta flight 280 – DM-F3


The Boeing Delta team is celebrating this morning as Delta III had a glorious morning launch from Cape Canaveral’s Pad 17B. The terminal countdown went smoothly with no major problems reported. The launch time was pushed back from the opening of the window by five minutes as engineers wanted the second stage hydrogen tank housing to have a bit more time to chill down to a desired temperature range. Liftoff occurred at 07:05:00.050 EDT, with every flight event occurring exactly at its expected time. Spacecraft separation came at T+36 minutes, 30 seconds.

Boeing is hopeful that this success will restore customer confidence in Delta III, which suffered unrelated failures in its first two launch attempts, both of which lost operational communications satellites. This mission, DM-F3, was paid for entirely by Boeing and carried a dummy payload to geostationary transfer orbit that simulates “the mass and frequency characteristics of common commercial communication payloads sized for Delta III.” The University of Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, in partnership with USAF, will utilize the payload for a variety of missions and studies.

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