Boeing’s massive new rocket, the Delta 4 Heavy, makes its thunderous presence known in a spectacular late afternoon launch with a roar so intense that car alarms were set off all up and down the road near where the above image was taken. This launch was a demonstration flight carrying a heavy weight, DemoSat, and two small hitchhiking university sponsored satellites, Nanosats, to prove the rocket’s reliability before paying customers put down good money to fly their payloads on it. Liftoff occurred after numerous delays in the long afternoon launch window at 4:50 p.m. on 21 December 2004 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. UPDATE: 22 December 2004 Although Boeing is calling the launch a success, the engines did not provide the expected thrust resulting in the loss of the two Nanosats which were released at an altitude too low to achieve orbit. The lower than expected thrust also put the DemoSat into an orbit approximately 10,000 miles below where it was supposed to go. The Air Force and Boeing acknowledge more extensive testing will need to be done before the rocket can carry real payloads.
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