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Range forecasts 16-20 launches

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The 45th Space Wing will continue to recapitalize the Navstar Global Positioning System constellation in 2007 with two planned launches of modernized GPS satellites on Delta II boosters from Cape Canaveral AFS.

Those launches are among the many military and civil launches forecasted for the Eastern Range during calendar year 2007. Although the Eastern Range schedule is fluid and subject to change, the outlook calls for between 12 and 15 major space launches this year, including:
· The first operational Delta IV Heavy launch, which will carry the last Defense Support Program satellite into orbit. DSP satellites help protect the U.S. and its allies by detecting missile launches, space launches and nuclear detonations;
· An Atlas V mission carrying six specialized DoD payloads called STP-1 ; and
· Five space shuttle missions to the International Space Station.

In addition to its space shuttle missions, NASA is planning five unmanned scientific missions that will launch on Delta II boosters from Space Launch Complexes 17A and 17B from CCAFS. Those missions are:
· Themis - A two-year mission consisting of five identical probes and a network of ground observatories that will track and determine the cause of the violent eruptions of auroras that occur during substorms;
· DAWN - This mission will study Ceres and Vesta, two minor planets that reside in the belt between Mars and Jupiter;
· PHOENIX - This is the latest Mars Lander mission. It will work to uncover clues in the Martian arctic soils about the history of water and potential for habitability;
· GLAST - The Gamma-ray Large Area Telescope will provide astronomers a tool to study black holes. Cosmologists will gain valuable information about the birth and early evolution of the universe; and
· STSS Block 2006 - To be launched by NASA for the Missile Defense Agency, this mission will demonstrate the key functions of a space-based sensor, passing missile tracking data to missile defense interceptors.

"This promises to be an exciting and challenging year for space launch and Range operations as we surge toward the Air Force's 60th anniversary," said Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th SW commander. "The 45th Space Wing is at the forefront of providing much-needed combat effects to our warfighters and helping NASA explore our universe."