Home >> News: October 18th, 2013 >> Story
Satnews Daily
October 18th, 2013

United Launch Alliance (ULA)—GPS IIF-5 Lift Off Delayed To Determine If Changes Are Required (Launch)

[SatNews] The launch of the GPS IIF-5 mission on a ULA Delta IV launch vehicle, currently scheduled for October 23, 2013, is being delayed.

Artistic rendition of the GPS IIF satellite in orbit.
Image is courtesy of Boeing.
The team has continued with Phase II of an investigation related to a successful Delta IV launch that occurred in October 2012, in which the second stage RL10B-2 engine thrust was lower than expected. It was determined that a fuel leak occurred within the engine system and that this fuel leak caused the low thrust. The ongoing Phase II investigation has included extremely detailed characterization and reconstructions of the instrumentation signatures obtained from the October 2012 launch and these have recently resulted in some updated conclusions related to dynamic responses that occurred on the engine system during the first engine start event.

Boeing workers lift the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-5 satellite onto a transporter following its Aug. 1 arrival at the Navstar Processing Facility on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Photo courtesy of Boeing.
The GPS IIF-5 Delta IV launch is being delayed to allow the technical team time to further assess these updated conclusions and assess the improvements already implemented and determine whether additional changes are required prior to the next Delta IV launch. The Delta IV booster for the GPS IIF-5 mission has completed the standard processing and checkout on the launch pad and will be maintained in a ready state for spacecraft mate and launch pending completion of this assessment.

A new launch date will be established when the assessment of the updated dynamic response information is completed in the coming weeks. The processing of Atlas V vehicles for upcoming missions including the November 18 launch of the MAVEN mission for NASA are proceeding as planned.