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Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Engines Lift Air Force DSP-23 Satellite into Orbit


CANOGA PARK, Calif.– A trio of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) RS-68 engines and a PWR RL10 upper stage engine worked in concert to boost an Air Force Delta IV Heavy rocket on Saturday from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Delta IV Heavy, in only the second launch of its kind, carried the Air Force’s DSP-23 defense satellite, which will detect the launch of hostile missiles. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. [NYSE: UTX] company.

“The three RS-68 engines performed flawlessly,” said Craig Stoker, program manager for PWR’s RS-68. “With a lifting capacity of nearly 25 tons to low earth orbit, the Delta IV Heavy is one of the most powerful expendable vehicles in service today.”

“PWR’s role in this successful mission began with the three powerful RS-68 engines and ended with the precision of the RL10,” said Jim Maus, PWR program director for the RL10. “The combination of PWR power and reliability is a winning combination we proudly provide to the United Launch Alliance.”

At liftoff, the three PWR RS-68 engines combined to produce nearly two million pounds of thrust. Each of three common booster cores (CBCs) that comprised the Delta IV was powered by an RS-68. The two outer cores were jettisoned at about four minutes into the flight, while the center CBC continued on for another minute and a half.

When the third RS-68 reached main engine cutoff, the first stage of the vehicle separated and PWR’s RL10 propelled the upper stage and payload. The RL10 was fired three times to move the DSP-23 spacecraft into a geosynchronous orbit 22,000 miles above the Earth.


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