Launch Day Monday — Delta II: Good; SpaceLoft XL1: Almost.

Watched the Delta II launch a GPS payload yesterday, live on HD-Net. Gorgeous launch on a beautiful day at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Seeing it in HDTV does make a difference.

Boeing’s workhouse did its job:

The Delta II rocket carrying the GPS IIR-15 (M) spacecraft lifted off from Space Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., at 2:50 p.m. EDT, Sept. 24. Following a nominal 68-minute flight, the rocket deployed the satellite to a transfer orbit.

The Boeing Delta II 7925-9.5 configuration vehicle used for today’s mission featured a Boeing first stage booster powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-27A main engine and nine Alliant Techsystems (ATK) solid rocket boosters. An Aerojet AJ10-118K engine powered the storable propellant restartable second stage. A Thiokol Star-48B solid rocket motor propelled the third stage prior to spacecraft deployment. The rocket also flew with a nine-and-a-half-foot-diameter Boeing payload fairing.

Monday’s other launch event, at Spaceport America in New Mexico, did not do as well. The SpaceLoft XL1 rocket failed at around 40,000 feet, eliciting this gem of a quote from launch logistical coordinator Tracey Larson:

"If it was easy, everyone would be doing it."

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