Encyclopedia Astronautica
Delta IV Medium



delta4m.jpg
Delta IV Medium
Credit: © Mark Wade
American orbital launch vehicle. Basic Delta-4 vehicle with no strap-ons, the core vehicle, and RL10B-1 upper stage with a 4 m diameter payload fairing. World's first all-cryogenic launch vehicle.

LEO Payload: 8,600 kg (18,900 lb) to a 185 km orbit at 28.50 degrees. Payload: 3,900 kg (8,500 lb) to a GTO, 27 deg. Launch Price $: 133.000 million in 2004 dollars.

Stage Data - Delta IV Medium

  • Stage 1. 1 x Delta RS-68. Gross Mass: 226,400 kg (499,100 lb). Empty Mass: 26,760 kg (58,990 lb). Thrust (vac): 3,312.755 kN (744,737 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 249 sec. Isp(sl): 365 sec. Diameter: 5.10 m (16.70 ft). Span: 5.10 m (16.70 ft). Length: 40.80 m (133.80 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: RS-68. Status: In production. Comments: Low cost expendable stage using lower performance engine. Used in Delta 4, Boeing EELV. Engine can be throttled to 60%.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Delta 4 - 2. Gross Mass: 24,170 kg (53,280 lb). Empty Mass: 2,850 kg (6,280 lb). Thrust (vac): 110.050 kN (24,740 lbf). Isp: 462 sec. Burn time: 850 sec. Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Span: 4.00 m (13.10 ft). Length: 12.00 m (39.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: RL-10B-2. Status: In production. Comments: Delta 3 second stage with hydrogen tank stretch.

AKA: Delta 4M.
Status: Active.
Gross mass: 249,500 kg (550,000 lb).
Payload: 8,600 kg (18,900 lb).
Height: 63.00 m (206.00 ft).
Diameter: 5.00 m (16.40 ft).
Thrust: 2,890.00 kN (649,690 lbf).
Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).
First Launch: 2003.03.11.
Last Launch: 2006.11.04.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • DSCS III American military communications satellite. 15 launches, 1982.10.30 (DSCS III-01) to 2003.08.29 (USA 170). DSCS satellites provided secure voice and data communications for the US military. More...
  • DMSP Block 5D-3 American earth weather satellite. 4 launches, 1999.12.12 (USA 147) to 2009-10-18. Military spacecraft similar in design to the civilian NOAA weather satellites. More...

Associated Engines
  • RL-10B-2 Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 110 kN. In production. Isp=462s. Used on Delta 3 , Delta IV launch vehicles. First flight 1998. Extendable exit cone for increased specific impulse; electromechanical actuators replace hydraulic systems. More...
  • RS-68 Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 3312 kN. In production. Isp=420s. First new large liquid-fueled rocket engine developed in America in more than 25 years. Powered the Delta IV booster. First flight 2002. More...

See also
  • Delta IV The Delta IV was the world's first all-Lox/LH2 launch vehicle and represented the only all-new-technology launch vehicle developed in the United States since the 1970's. It was the winner of the bulk of the USAF EELV orders and was based on the all-new RS-68-powered Lox/LH2 cryogenic Common Booster Core (CBC). This could be used with new Delta cryogenic upper stages powered by the RL10 engine but unrelated to previous Centaur upper stages. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Douglas American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • DMSP The first CORONA photos in August 1960 convinced authorities that knowledge of cloud cover over Russia was necessary and could be obtained only via satellite. Since the civilian TIROS program could not yet meet the requirement, the Director, National Reconnaissance Office authorized an 'interim' effort - the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. The satellite series continued to be updated and served into the 21st Century. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC37B Saturn I, Delta IV launch complex. Complexes 34 and 37 were designed to support NASA's Saturn I and Saturn IB program. Complex 37 was built in 1962, and it was occupied by NASA in January 1963. Complex 37 supported eight Saturn I and Saturn IB missions, including the first flight of an unmanned Apollo lunar module, between 29 January 1964 and 23 January 1968. Complexes 34 and 37 were mothballed in November 1971, and their service structures were scrapped in April 1972. NASA retained control of both complexes, and both sites became NASA tour stops. More...

Associated Stages
  • Delta RS-68 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 226,400/26,760 kg. Thrust 3,312.76 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. Low cost expendable stage using lower performance engine. Used in Delta 4, Boeing EELV. Engine can be throttled to 60%. More...
  • Delta 4 - 2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 24,170/2,850 kg. Thrust 110.05 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 462 seconds. Delta 3 second stage with hydrogen tank stretch. More...

Delta IV Medium Chronology


2003 March 11 - . 00:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. Launch Pad: SLC37B. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Medium. LV Configuration: Delta 4M D4-2 (296) 4040.
  • USA 167 - . Payload: DSCS III A-3. Mass: 1,235 kg (2,722 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 27691 . COSPAR: 2003-008A. Summary: First flight of a fully cryogenic orbital launch vehicle. Delayed from December 2001, February 2, 6, 8, 11, 12 and March 8 2003. Satellite mas 2,733 kg with kick stage..

2003 August 29 - . 23:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. Launch Pad: SLC37B. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Medium. LV Configuration: Delta 4M D4-3 (301) 4040.
  • USA 170 - . Payload: DSCS-3-B6. Mass: 1,235 kg (2,722 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 27875 . COSPAR: 2003-040A. Summary: Delayed from July 1, 11 and 23, then August 3 and 28..

2006 November 4 - . 13:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC6. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Medium. LV Configuration: Delta 4M D4-7 (320) 4040.
  • DMSP-Block-5D3-F17 - . Mass: 1,154 kg (2,544 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DMSP. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-3. USAF Sat Cat: 29522 . COSPAR: 2006-050A. Apogee: 855 km (531 mi). Perigee: 841 km (522 mi). Inclination: 98.8000 deg. Period: 101.90 min. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program satellite with the Operational Linescan System camera, a microwave imager-sounder, ultraviolet spectrometers, particle detectors, a magnetometer, and a laser threat warning sensor. Reportedly went for a time into safe mode due to software problems after launch. The booster upper stage was conducted a maneuver to deorbit itself after placing the satellite in orbit. After the burn an explosion evidently occurred aboard the stage - dozens of objects were tracked in various orbits with perigees down to 670 km and apogees up to 851 km.

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