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Boeing confirms Delta 4 launch date despite engine problem
Posted: Wed, Nov 6, 2002, 7:45 AM ET (1245 GMT)
Delta 4 first launch vehicle (Boeing) Boeing confirmed late Tuesday that it plans to launch its first Delta 4 booster on November 16 after giving the vehicle's upper-stage engine a clean bill of health. Boeing said in a statement that engineers have mater the booster's payload, the Eutelsat W5 spacecraft, to the vehicle, and are moving ahead with plans to launch on November 16. The company said the company that it had made "satisfactory progress" related to issues with the RL10B-2 engine that powers the Delta 4's upper stage. Those issues were not specified in the statement, although Space News reported earlier Tuesday that two turbine blades were lost during a recent hot-fire test of a similar engine. Boeing officials said the problem was linked to a component found only in engines manufactured in 2002; the RL10B-2 on the Delta 4 was built in 1998. Moreover, the problem took place 2,500 seconds into the test, longer than the engine normally runs in flight. The problem was initially reported by Air Force undersecretary Peter Teets during a National Space Club luncheon in Washington Tuesday.
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