United Launch Alliance managed to launch Delta II with JPSS-1 from Vandenberg Air Force Base during third trial.

First NOAA next generation weather satellite should be launched earlier this week but ULA twice was forced to postpone this mission. First time due the boats in the safety zone around Vandenberg and second time due the strong winds at Vandenberg.

Launch was set for today on 09:47 UTC and slightly before 09:00 UTC ground team services finished steering checks. Long for 39 m and supported by nine boosters (7920-10C configuration) rocket was waiting for launch at SLC-2W launch site at Vandenberg AFS. After finishing fueling and pressurizing tanks at 09:31 UTC rocket was ready for delivering JPSS-1 to 822 km orbit. Eight minutes before flight last poll was finished and after confirmation from weather forecast station final “go” was given for JPSS-1 mission.

Finally at 09:47 UTC Delta II begun to raise over launch site and after performing pitch and yaw maneuver rocket set its course to south and reached 1 Ma speed at T+40′. After burning all the propellant in six solid fueled boosters they were jettisoned at T+1’30” twenty seconds after three air powered boosters ignited. After 45 seconds three remaining boosters were separated and RS-27A main core continued firing for another 120 seconds. At +4’35” RS27A was cut off and first stage was released. Five seconds later upper stage powered by AJ10-118K begun its first burn. At T+5′ payload fairing was jettisoned. At T+11′ upper stage finished its first burn and begun casting phase. At 10:02 UTC upper stage with JPSS-1 reached parking orbit.

Second burn started at T+50’55” upper stage performed its second burn and engine was cut off again after another 60 seconds. Upper stage performed course correction to prepare separation. Finally at 10:45 UTC JPSS-1 was separated. Few minutes later it deployed solar array and reported its good condition. Meanwhile upper stage begun preparations for deploying five piggyback Cubesats. At T+1h15″ third burn started and put Delta II upper stage on the correct orbit at 11:03 UTC. Ten minutes later all five satellites were deployed: MiRaTA, a compact atmospheric sensing nanosatellite from MIT, MakerSat-0 with different experiments prepared by students of the Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, RadFxSat with experiment onboard prepared by Vanderbilt University and AMSAT, EagleSat-1 developed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott and Buccaneer, military satellite which will calibrate radars used by by the Australian military.

At 11:40 last burn was performed by Delta II upper stage and rocket entered reentry trajectory.