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25-Sep-09 | Delta flight 344 – STSS Demo

The second launch of the year by Delta II for the Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency has completed successfully.

Liftoff from Cape Canaveral’s SLC-17B occurred on Friday, 25 September, at an official range time of 08:20:00.223 EDT. The 65° flight azimuth took the Delta II vehicle over Europe for the first time since Mars Odyssey in 2001 (Delta 284).

This mission deployed a pair of remote sensing satellites that will demonstrate the space-based component of “a layered Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) designed for the overall mission of detection, tracking, and interception of ballistic missiles.” Both satellites were deployed less than an hour after liftoff while in range of the Diego Garcia tracking station in the Indian Ocean, into circular orbits about 729 nautical miles in altitude.

Launch was scrubbed on two previous days for weather conditions. The delay has impacted on the next Delta II flight, Worldview-2, which was previously slated for 6 October from Vandenberg AFB but has not yet been rescheduled.

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