CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., June 22 (UPI) -- The United States launched a military experimental satellite package Wednesday night and continued preparations for next week's spy-spacecraft launch.
The National Reconnaissance Office plans to send a satellite into orbit aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket next Tuesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The launch of the unspecified payload will be the first West Coast launch of the Delta II and comes after the final launch of the Titan rocket last fall.
The Delta has become a proven vehicle for U.S. civilian and military space agencies with some 250 launches under its collective belt.
The Delta II rocket launched Wednesday at Cape Canaveral carried a pair of small satellites for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Micro-Satellite Technology Experiment. The program looks into new spacecraft technologies that could be applied to future military space projects.
Boeing and its crew of subcontractors reported Thursday that the Delta II in its 7925-9.5 configuration performed flawlessly with the payload deploying some 30 minutes after launch in geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles above the equator.
The exact location of the satellites was not announced.
The rocket was equipped with nine GEM-40 solid-fuel booster rockets that augmented liftoff thrust to 850,000 pounds to which another 450,000 pounds was added three minutes downrange.