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Air Force says Boeing on track for first EELV launch
Posted: Tue, Mar 13, 2001, 8:35 AM ET (1335 GMT)
Delta 4 illustration U.S. Air Force officials, responding to published reports Monday, said they still planned to use a Boeing Delta 4 for the first launch of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program next year. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Air Force was considering switching the payload for that launch from the Delta 4 to an Atlas 5, Lockheed Martin's new EELV launcher, because of concerns with the RS-68 main engine being developed for the Delta 4. However, Air Force officials told Reuters later in the day that they had no plans to switch the May 2002 launch from the Delta 4 to the Atlas 5, saying they were confident that the RS-68 and the overall Delta 4 program were on track. A Lockheed Martin vice president, though, told Reuters that the military was beginning to integrate the satellite payload to an Atlas 5 in the event a switch was made in launch vehicles. The Journal also reported that a sharp slowdown in commercial satellite launches, particularly for constellations of satellites, has hurt Boeing's Delta program and will force the company to stretch out the payback for the $2-billion Delta 4 program.
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