will launch a U.S. Air Force defense satellite aboard a
Delta IV rocket in 2003, company officials Wednesday announced.

A Delta IV Medium vehicle will place a Defense Meteorological
Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite in a near-polar, sun-synchronous
orbit. The satellite, DMSP-17, will be launched from Vandenberg Air
Force Base (VAFB), Calif., and is part of a 22-launch U.S. government
manifest for payloads aboard Delta IV rockets.

“This launch is a major milestone for the Delta IV program,” said
Tom Parkinson, division director of U.S. government sales for Boeing
Delta Launch Services. “The DMSP is an important part of the U.S.
defense system, and this launch continues our path toward becoming the
premier launch service provider in delivering highly critical payloads
for the government.”

The DMSP system of satellites provides real-time meteorological
data to Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps tactical ground
stations and Navy ships, enabling military weather forecasters to
provide critical data to military commanders.

Circling the earth at an altitude of 450 nautical miles in a
near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit, each DMSP satellite scans an area
1,600 nautical miles wide, covering the earth every 12 hours.

Beginning service in 2002, the Boeing Delta IV is the company’s
newest class of rockets. Designed with state-of-the-art manufacturing
and assembly processes, the Delta IV family of launch vehicles
consists of five Medium, Medium+ and Heavy variants. In addition to
West Coast launch operations at VAFB, the Delta IV will be launched
from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

Since 1971, Boeing has provided rocket booster, guidance control
software and launch vehicle support for the DMSP.