GPS 2R-9 (Delta II)
31 March 2003
Space Launch Complex 17A
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
The US Air Force rushes a new Global Positioning Satellite (GPS 2R-9) into orbit aboard a Delta II rocket to assist in the ongoing war with Iraq. Liftoff was at 5:09 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) on 31 March 2003. Brigadier General Greg Pavlovich, commander of the 45th Space Wing in charge of launches from CCAFS explained of this launch, "Control of the battlefield begins here. Everyone is seeing how critical GPS is to fighting wars. You simply can't fight wars without space".
Images show a security helicopter from Patrick Air Force Base patroling the perimeter, next the liftoff, and then the spent solid rocket boosters being jettisoned and, finally, the rocket speeding away as at least five boosters, two visible in the exhaust plume, begin their descent to the Atlantic Ocean. They are not recovered.
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