Spaceflight Insider

Photo Gallery: Delta IV launches next round of GSSAP satellites

United Launch Alliance Delta IV+ Medium 4,2 rocket lifts off with AFSPC-6 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 37 in Florida. Photo Credit Mike Deep SpaceFlight Insider

Photo Credit: Mike Deep / SpaceFlight Insider

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Those who feel the U.S. has gotten out of the launch business would have experienced an education between August 14–19. During this period, not one but two missions got their start from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The first of these, the launch of the JCSAT-16 telecommunications satellite, took place on Aug. 14, 2016, when a SpaceX Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket lifted off from the Cape’s SLC-40. Five days later, at around 12:52 a.m. EDT (04:52 GMT), it was United Launch Alliances turn.

At this time a ULA Delta IV Medium+ 4, 2 rocket lifted off from the Cape’s SLC-37 and into the early morning skies. The launch vehicle’s nomenclature denotes its four-meter fairing and the twin Orbital ATK GEM-60 solid rocket boosters that the rocket sports on its first stage.

With not one but two launches taking place from the Cape in such a short time frame, it is self-evident that Cape Canaveral’s historic launch sites are still very much active. Something that these images, produced by SFI’s many contributors, help to detail.

The two AFSPC-6 satellites that were the payload for this latter launch will now join the two other GSSAP satellites that were launched in 2014. All four spacecraft will operate in near-GEO, where they will monitor other spacecraft as well as orbital debris.

Click any image to view in a larger size, the views expressed in this feature are those of the author and do not, necessarily, reflect those of SpaceFlight Insider.


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