Delta II launches with COSMO-SkyMed-2

by Chris Bergin

United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched their Delta II 7420-10, carrying the COSMO-2 satellite – the second of four COSMO-SkyMed (Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation) satellites – from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California. are covering the launch as a live event, with live updates, images and a free video, available on the links below (read more).

L2 Resources: All the ELV and EELV Vehicle Manuals and Payload Planner’s Guides, plus more.


**FREE Delta II/COSMO-2 Launch Video** – First stage to 1-2 sep (Boeing webcast failure – working on full video via NASA ELV portal) – Free to all forum members (registration is free – we do not use your e-mail for spam, only to send you your forum password – which is automated.


During post launch inspections an area of debonded cork was found on the vehicle which typically takes 1-2 days to repair. Based on this, there won’t be a launch attempt on Thursday,’ noted ULA.

‘Mission managers will meet later today to discuss the progress of the fix and to discuss a new launch date.  Right now it is NET Dec. 7.’

Weather delays pushed the launch out to Saturday, with MST rollback now marking a key milestone towards tonight’s attempt.

Mission background:

The Delta II in action is the 7420-10 version, a two-stage vehicle which includes four strap-on solid propellant rocket motors. The Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-27A main engine on the first stage is powered by liquid oxygen and RP-1 (kerosene).

Thales Alenia Space Italia developed the COSMO-SkyMed program for the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence. It is an end-to-end Earth observation dual-use (civil and military) system comprised of four medium-sized satellites and supporting ground stations for orbit control systems and data reception and processing.

The system will take imagery of the Earth using an X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument capable of operating in all visibility conditions at the request of institutional and commercial users, including members of the civil and scientific, and defense communities.

‘Boeing Launch Services and United Launch Alliance are honored to launch COSMO-2. The launch vehicle will deliver COSMO-2 into a circular sun-synchronous orbit, phased on the same orbital plane as COSMO-1, where COSMO-2 will begin it mission of data observation and data recording for the needs of both the military and civil community,’ said BLS vice president Kenneth Heinly.

‘United Launch Alliance provides the Delta II launch vehicle and mission services under a commercial launch service contract administered by Boeing Launch Services for Thales Alenia Space, Italia (TAS-I). COSMO-1, the first COSMO-SkyMed satellite, was launched by the Delta II in June 2007. Our congratulations to the entire Delta team for their significant efforts that resulted in achieving this milestone.’

COSMO-2 will provide even more detailed and accurate forecasts for the entire Alpine Region, for nowcasting and the very-short-range period out to 18 hours. Continuous research and development is needed to adapt the COSMO Model to a kilometre-scale resolution in complex topography. It is scheduled to become operational at the beginning of 2008.

‘An important part of the efforts is the improvement and optimisation of the data assimilation system at the kilometre scale. In addition to ingesting new types of data, the appropriate assimilation of high-resolution (spatial and temporal) data in complex topography is challenging and needs our full attention,’ added MeteoSwiss.

Full mission background is available on the live event page – linked above.

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