A Boeing-designed and -built
booster vehicle was successfully launched today for its first verification
test flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The three-stage booster
vehicle is the prototype interceptor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense
Segment (GMDS) Program (formerly National Missile Defense.)
The Boeing
Company is the prime contractor for the program.

Operational booster design and systems engineering work is done by Boeing
in Anaheim, Calif.
Boeing in Huntsville, Ala., is responsible for the
integration, assembly, test and check out of the developmental booster

The booster vehicle is a three-stage commercial-off-the-shelf missile
integrating motors from Alliant Techsystems (first stage) and Pratt & Whitney
Chemical Systems Division (second and third stages.)
The objectives of this
first flight test included verifying launch operations and procedures and
completing a three-stage flyout and separation.
Initial assessments indicate
that all objectives were met.

“We are very pleased with the results of today’s flight test,” said Jim
Evatt, executive vice president and general manager of the GMDS program.
successful first launch of this prototype booster vehicle brings us one step
closer to the final integrated system for the ground-based program.”

The GMDS program involves the development, testing and potential
deployment of a system to detect, track and destroy hostile intercontinental
ballistic missiles before they can reach any of the 50 states.

Boeing, as prime contractor, is responsible for the development and
integration of the GMDS elements, including the Ground-Based Interceptor,
X-Band Radar, Battle Management Command, Control and Communication systems,
Upgraded Early Warning Radars and interfaces to the Space-Based Infrared
System Satellites.
Major team members include Raytheon Company (kill vehicle,
radars); TRW (BMC2); and Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space (Payload Launch

The Joint Program Office of the Department of Defense Ballistic Missile
Defense Organization directs the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Segment

The Boeing Company is the largest aerospace company in the world and the
United States’ leading exporter. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of
commercial jetliners and military aircraft, and the largest NASA contractor.
The company’s capabilities in aerospace also include rotorcraft, electronic
and defense systems, missiles, rocket engines, satellites, launch vehicles,
and advanced information and communication systems.
The company has an
extensive global reach with customers in 145 countries.