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29-Jan-03 | Delta flight 295 – NAVSTAR IIR-8

Today marked the second Delta II launch in just over two weeks, as flight 295 placed NAVSTAR IIR-8 into a perfect transfer orbit for the U.S. Air Force and its Global Positioning System. The Air Force, Boeing, the Delta rocket and the weather apparently all took to heart the message of the Delta’s commemorative nose art, “Let’s Roll!”, as the terminal countdown was flawless and the vehicle lifted off right at the opening of its 14-minute window. (Official liftoff time, 18:06:00.431 UTC) Just over 68 minutes later the third stage separated from the spacecraft after placing it in a elliptical transfer orbit of about 11,000 n.m. apogee. Within the next few days IIR-8 will fire its on-board kick motor to reach operational orbit, where it will eventually replace spacecraft SVN-22 (launched 03-Feb-93 aboard Delta 218). Meanwhile, the experimental XSS-10 microsatellite remained attached to the AJ10-118K second stage for several hours before deploying to perform its guidance and control software test.

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