The Boeing
Company has helped NASA with a first step toward penetrating the
inner-most secrets of comets as the Boeing Delta II 7425 rocket
powered into the skies above Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.,
sending NASA’s Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft into orbit.

Liftoff from Pad A at Space Launch Complex 17 was 2:47 a.m. EDT.
Sixty-three minutes into flight, the Delta II safely placed CONTOUR in
an elliptical Earth orbit, where it will remain until mission
operators put the spacecraft on a path toward at least two comets.

CONTOUR will study the nucleus of comets to further the scientific
community’s understanding of the characteristics and behavior of these

“It was a great launch,” said Kristen Walsh, Boeing director, NASA
expendable Launch Vehicle program. “The Delta II deployed CONTOUR
right on the mark. Everything went according to plan. You just can’t
ask for more.”

This morning’s launch marks the 101st successful Delta II mission.
Its reliability rate is an impressive 98 percent.

The CONTOUR mission is a joint effort between Boeing, Huntington
Beach, Calif.; NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.; and Cornell
University, Ithaca, NY.

Boeing Space and Communications (S&C), headquartered in Seal
Beach, Calif., is the world’s largest space and communications
company. A unit of The Boeing Company, S&C provides integrated
solutions in launch services, human space flight and exploration,
missile defense, and information and communications. It is NASA’s
largest contractor; a leading provider of space-based communications;
the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; and a leading
provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The global
enterprise has customers worldwide and manufacturing operations
throughout the United States and Australia.