A data-gathering, simulated payload was successfully placed into
orbit Wednesday aboard a Boeing Delta III rocket. The launch vehicle
lifted off at 7:05 a.m. EDT.

Instruments aboard the 9,480-pound satellite will provide
information to further validate Boeing baseline data on launch vehicle
performance. Engineers will begin tracking the payload for satellite
studies by the U.S. Air Force and the University of Colorado.

“Today, Delta III flew the same flight profile as the mission last
year, allowing us to compare data from both flights on an
event-by-event basis,” said Gale Schluter, vice president-general
manager of Boeing Expendable Launch Systems. “This success confirms
our confidence in Delta III.”

Designated DM-F3 for Delta Mission-Flight 3, the payload was
designed to match the mass and frequency characteristics of common
commercial communication satellites sized for Delta III. Thus, the
interaction during flight between an actual payload and the Delta III
was accurately duplicated.

Boeing modified the payload to assist U.S. Air Force engineers in
the calibration and testing of electro-optical space imaging systems.
Reflective surfaces on the simulated satellite also provide laser
cross-section targets at both visible and infrared wavelengths.

In addition, the DM-F3 payload will be used by the Air Force to
verify its thermal standards and models for satellites. Verification
of models used to predict payload dynamics will be accomplished by
viewing the spin rate of the payload. In addition, the University of
Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research plans to analyze data to
determine the effect of the orbital environment on the payload.

Delta III was designed to address the growing size of commercial
satellites and move Boeing out of its role as a niche player in the
launch industry. The Delta III can carry to geosynchronous transfer
orbit 4,800 pounds (3,800 kg), or twice the payload of the Delta II.

A larger fairing to house bigger payloads and a new cryogenically
propelled upper stage with a Pratt & Whitney-built single engine is
used by Delta III. The vehicle uses existing components and
infrastructure similar to that used with the Delta II launch.

Delta III engineering, manufacturing and program management are
led by Boeing Expendable Launch Systems based in Huntington Beach,
Calif., with final assembly in Pueblo, Colo. The Delta launch team at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station handles launch coordination and
operations. Boeing manufactures the Delta III main engine, the RS-27A,
in Canoga Park, Calif.

Major Delta III suppliers include: Alliant Techsystems Inc.,
Magna, Utah, strap-on solid rocket motors; Pratt & Whitney, West Palm
Beach, Fla., RL10B-2 cryogenic upper-stage engine; Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries, Nagoya, Japan, 13-foot (4-meter) fuel tanks; and L3
communications, Teterboro, N.J., Redundant Inertial Flight Control
Assembly avionics system.