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Delta 2 launches experimental military satellite
Posted: Fri, May 18, 2001, 4:58 PM ET (2058 GMT)
Delta 2 launch file photo (Boeing) A Boeing Delta 2 successfully launched an experimental military spacecraft Friday afternoon. The Delta 2 lifted off from Pad 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 1:45pm EDT (1745 GMT) and placed into transfer orbit the Geosynchronous Lightweight Technology Experiment (GeoLITE) spacecraft. Launch was scheduled for 1:07 pm EDT (1707 GMT) but the countdown was stopped at T-18 seconds because of a problem with the telemetry from the spacecraft. The problem was soon resolved, but the launch time was pushed back again when a boat wandered into restricted waters off the coast from the launch site. GeoLITE is a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spacecraft built by TRW that is designed to test an experimental laser communications system; it also has an operational UHF communications system. The spacecraft will maneuver into geosynchronous orbit in the next several days and should be ready to enter service in a few weeks. The launch is the third this year for the Delta 2, after the January launch of a GPS satellite and the April launch of NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft.
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