[Via Satellite 07-29-2014] United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, launched three Air Force satellites on July 28, 2014. Using a Delta 4 rocket, the company carried two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites and the Automated Activation and Guidance Experiment for Local Space (ANGELS) satellite to near-Geostationary Orbits (GEO).
The AFSPC 4 mission was the first to use an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) on a Delta rocket. An Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine and two ATK-built GEM-60 solid rocket motors powered the mission. Aerojet Rocketdyne also built the RL10B-2 engine used for the upper stage, and ATK supplied a dozen composite structures for the rocket.
The twin GSSAP satellites were built to improve orbital predictions for objects in GEO and are able to conduct Rendezvous and Proximity Operations
(RPO) maneuvering near objects of interest for closer observation. The ANGELS satellite is also dedicated to improving Space Situational Awareness (SSA), and will examine techniques for providing a clearer picture of the environment surrounding U.S. space assets.
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