Pentagon makes exception to ban on US manufacturer's space units to allow Delta IIs to continue satellite launches

The US Department of Defense has awarded Boeing a $56.7 million contract extension to continue Delta II launches of GPS 2R global positioning system satellites. The award required an exception to the DoD's ban on doing business with three Boeing space units as punishment for misappropriating Lockheed Martin documents during the US Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) competition.

The delayed launch of the third Boeing Delta IV booster under the EELV programme took place on 30 August from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The standard Delta IV Medium, with no solid rocket boosters, carried the final Lockheed Martin-built USAF Defense Space Communications Satellite (DSCS) series craft into geostationary transfer orbit. DSCS III B6 will join 13 other DSCS satellites in orbit.

B6 should have been launched in 1986-7, but its Space Shuttle deployment mission was cancelled after the Challenger accident. B6 was preceded into space by other DSCS III satellites, some aboard Shuttles. The DSCS craft will be succeeded by Wideband Gapfiller Satellites, three of which are being built by Boeing, with the first to be launched on a Delta IV in 2005. These will be succeeded by the Advanced Wideband Satellite system in 2009.

A US Air Force Titan IVB Centaur booster is to be launched from Cape Canaveral on 8 September on the delayed flight of a Lockheed Martin-built Mentor advanced Orion signals-intelligence satellite.

Source: Flight International