Delta 2 launches GPS 2R-16M
11/17/06 ~ 2:12pm

Homepage       Purchase photos!       Launch Photos

A Boeing Delta 2 rocket launches the 16th replacement Global Positioning System satellite, GPS IIR-16M (2R-16M) into orbit
11,000 miles above the Earth on November 17 at 2:12pm EST.
These rare photos are taken from the Air Force Space and Missile
Museum at Cape Canaveral, less than 2000 feet from Launch Complex 17 where Deltas have launched from for 46 years (the oldest
active launch pad at Cape Canaveral). Standing prominently in the foreground is an original Thor-Able rocket from the early
This Thor, far smaller than the Delta 2 launching behind it, is standing at the site of Launch Complex 26B, which on
January 31, 1958 was the starting point for Explorer 1, America's first satellite. It was the Thor IRBM which was converted
into a space launch vehicle and later renamed Delta (Delta
was originally the second stage name). Since 1960 when the second
to launch sent up America's first communications satellite, Echo 1 (the first flight of a Delta rocket was a failure),
exactly 321 Deltas have flown through the date of this launch.

<--- STEREO                                                                 THEMIS --->
The remaining photos are from Press Site 1, 1.5 miles from the launch pad and the closest one can
view a rocket launch in the western hemisphere
The six boosters that were ignited at liftoff (the ground-lits) burn out, and the three
remaining air-lit boosters ignite:
The six ground-lits separate, three at a time in quick succession, and fall into the Atlantic: