Delta IV roars to successful first launch

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America's newest space launch vehicle got off to a rip-roaring start Nov. 20 with a lift-off that lit up the skies over Central Florida and beyond.

The Delta IV blasted off at the top of the launch window at 5:39 p.m. EST. Approximately 37 minutes later, the satellite separated from the rocket and was placed in orbit.

During the mission Boeing's Delta IV rocket launched both a commercial telecommunications satellite and the second phase of the U.S. Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.

In partnership with Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the Air Force sponsored the EELV program to reduce space launch costs and ensure reliable access to space for military, commercial and scientific spacecraft. With this launch, and with Lockheed Martin's successful Atlas V launch on Aug. 21, the EELV program has gotten out of the gates without a hitch, ushering in a new era of space launch vehicles for America.

The partnership between government and industry is the key element of the EELV success story.

"Congratulations to Boeing, Pratt and Whitney, EutelSat and all the players that made this a great day in space launch history. The Air Force is proud to share this success with them," said Brig. Gen. Pavlovich, 45th Space Wing commander and the launch decision authority.

"Both the Delta IV and Atlas V had flawless first flights. A new era of space launch technology has begun that will assure America's affordable access to space for years to come." (Courtesy of Air Force Space Command News Service)