Space: March 15, 2003


The first military use of the EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) was on March 11th when a Delta IV rocket launched a $200 million military DSCS III communications satellite. The bird joined a constellation of eight others, which provide more data capacity for military operations. This EELV was a Delta IV rocket using two stages, the smallest configuration for the Delta IV. The heaviest version, with three first stage rockets strapped together, will be used later this year. The EELV uses new, less expensive, rocket engines in existing rocket designs. By using standardized modules, the US Air Force expects to reduce the cost of launching satellites. The DSCS birds cost $160 million each in 1995, weight about 2.6 tons, are expected to last for ten years and use a high geosynchronous orbit. 


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