Encyclopedia Astronautica
Delta



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392nd Thor Squadron
Vandenberg 392nd Squadron Thor launch personnel, Vandenberg, 1962 or 1963.
Credit: Larry Rhoads
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Thor
Credit: via Andreas Parsch
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Thor Burner 2A
Thor Burner 2A - COSPAR 1975-043
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Thor Burner
Thor-Burner 2 - COSPAR 1967-065
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4300SS Thor Squadron
The USAF 392nd squadron trained the Royal Air Force with live launches. When the Thor missile was phased out in England, the 392nd become the 4300SS squadron with several 'all blue uniform' programs. This is a picture of the 4300SS squadron personnel taken sometime early 1964 or late 1963
Credit: Larry Rhoads
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Thor Burner 2
Credit: US Air Force
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Thor Burner
Thor Burner - COSPAR 1965-021. Launched from Vandenberg AFB on St. Patrick's day of 1965. Standing at the launch mount are SGT Lipscomb (deceased as of 2002) and SGT Stovall (still living in Lompoc, CA as of 2002)..
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Thor Burner
Thor Burner - COSPAR 1965-003
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Thor Burner 3
Credit: US Air Force
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Thor Blockhouse
Inside view of the Thor Burner I program block house looking at the launch control consoles (ca 1965).
Credit: Larry Rhoads
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Thor Burner Launch 2
Pictures of the second Burner I launch (believed to be from launch pad 6). The first Burner I bird had a black second stage. This was an orbital launch with a permanent orbit, no recovery. I guess the thing is now space junk. A fully successful launch with all objectives met. Launch date was Thursday, March 17, 1965 sometime between 2100hrs and 2105hrs Vandenberg time. The night launch time of 2100 hrs with a 5 minute launch window was the same for both the first and second Burner I launches.
Credit: Larry Rhoads
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Thor Burner Launch 2
Pictures of the second Burner I launch (believed to be from launch pad 6). The first Burner I bird had a black second stage. This was an orbital launch with a permanent orbit, no recovery. I guess the thing is now space junk. A fully successful launch with all objectives met. Launch date was Thursday, March 17, 1965 sometime between 2100hrs and 2105hrs Vandenberg time. The night launch time of 2100 hrs with a 5 minute launch window was the same for both the first and second Burner I launches.
Credit: Larry Rhoads
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Thor Able 2
Credit: © Thomas Kladiva - Thomas Kladiva
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Thor Able Star
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Thor-Able
Credit: US Air Force
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Launch Complex 17B
Launch Complex 17B - Cape Canaveral
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Thor Able
Thor Able - COSPAR 1959-004
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Thor Able
Thor Able-Star - COSPAR 1960-013
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Thor Able
Thor Able - 58
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Thor Able
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Delta LV Family
From left: Thor-Delta, Delta A, Delta B, Delta E, Delta M, Delta 2000, Delta 6000, Delta 7000 Heavy, Delta 3, Delta IV, Delta Heavy.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Thor Agena A
Thor Agena A - COSPAR 1960-M
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Thor Agena A
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Agena A Stage
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Thor-Agena A
Thor Booster with an Agena satellite vehicle as the second stage with the launch name of DISCOVERER XIII. It was successfully launched from Vandenberg AFB on August 10th 1960. The Agena satellite orbited the earth and then was ejected from orbit and retrieved in the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii the next day August 11, 1960 by a waiting Navy pickup ship.
Credit: Larry Rhoads
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Thor-Agena A
Thor Booster with an Agena satellite vehicle as the second stage with the launch name of DISCOVERER XIII. It was successfully launched from Vandenberg AFB on August 10th 1960. The Agena satellite orbited the earth and then was ejected from orbit and retrieved in the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii the next day August 11, 1960 by a waiting Navy pickup ship.
Credit: Larry Rhoads
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Thor-Agena A
Thor booster built by Douglas Aircraft Company with a second stage Agena satellite vehicle built by Lockheed Aircraft Corp. This was a Douglas/Lockheed personnel launch operation from one of the Douglas launch complexes. Early to mid 1959.
Credit: Larry Rhoads
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TA Thor Agena B
TA Thor Agena B - COSPAR 1963-027
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Thor Agena B
Thor Agena B - 1962
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Thor Agena B
Thor Agena B - COSPAR 1964-052
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Thor TAT/Agena
Thor Augmented Thrust / Agena
Credit: US Air Force
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TA Thor Agena D
TA Thor Agena D -1963-02-28
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TA Thor Agena D
TA Thor Agena D - COSPAR 1967-029
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TA Thor Agena D
TA Thor Agena D - COSPAR 1964-061
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TA Thor Agena D
TA Thor Agena D - COSPAR 1963-034
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TA Thor Agena D
TA Thor Agena D - COSPAR 1964-001
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Thorad Agena D SLV-2
Credit: via Andreas Parsch
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LT Thor Agena D
LT Thor Agena D - COSPAR 1966-102
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Delta D
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Delta E1 no. 44
Delta E1 no. 44 - COSPAR 1967-001
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Delta M6 no. 83
Delta M6 no. 83 - COSPAR 1971-019
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Delta M no. 80
Delta M no. 80 - COSPAR 1970-062
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N1 Japan
Credit: © Thomas Kladiva - Thomas Kladiva
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Delta 100
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Delta 1900 no. 99
Delta 1900 no. 99 - COSPAR 1973-101
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Delta 3910 no. 151
Delta 3910 no. 151 - COSPAR 1980-014
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Delta 3925
Credit: Boeing
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Delta 7925
Credit: Boeing
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Delta LV
Delta LV Solid Motor Separation
Credit: Boeing
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Delta 2 liftoff
Credit: NASA
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Delta 2
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Delta 3 Cutaway
Delta 3 Cutaway Drawing
Credit: Boeing
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Delta 3
Delta 3 on the pad before its first launch attempt.
Credit: Boeing
American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced.

The Delta space launch family had its roots in the Thor IRBM. Thor was a 2400 km range missile with essentially the same characteristics as the Army's Jupiter. It was developed by Douglas Aircraft in one of the most accelerated crash programs in history. 'Chief Designer' of the Thor was Jack Bromberg. He was not educated formally as an engineer, but was smart and dynamic. Company owner Donald Douglas had hired him back in the 1930's. He was a major influence in Douglas' winning response to the USAF request for proposal, which emanated from USAF Missile Czar General Bernard Schriever.

The Air Force requirement was to build an IRBM around a discarded rocket motor design. The engine had been developed as the sustainer engine for the Atlas missile when the requirement was to launch a 2700 kg thermonuclear warhead over an intercontinental range. When it became apparent that the warhead could be reduced to less than half that weight, the Atlas was downsized, and the 68 tonne thrust sustainer motor was no longer required.

Douglas flew a first prototype only thirteen months after go-ahead. Sixty Thors were deployed to missile sites in Great Britain under Project Emily. After a few years the Thors were withdrawn from Britain (and the Jupiters from Turkey) as part of the secret codicil of Kennedy's deal to end the Cuban Missile Crisis. A few continued in an offensive military role as a nuclear-tipped anti-satellite system, based on Johnson Atoll in the Pacific, until the end of the early 1970's. Surplus Thors were used for a variety of suborbital re-entry vehicle tests.

After the Sputnik shock, all available assets were pressed into service. Thor was developed into a workhorse for the space program. The Able stage developed for the Vanguard project was mated to the Thor. A fundamental problem was that the thrust to weight ratio of the basic vehicle left little margin for growth or larger upper stages. This was solved by using Castor solid rockets strapped to the base of the vehicle to increase the lift-off thrust. Almost by accident rather than design, Thor developed into the Delta, the standard American medium-lift launcher, continually evolving through the use of more and larger strap-on boosters, a cylindrical and stretched core, and enlarged upper stages. The original Aerojet Able upper stage evolved into the Delta. From 1959-1972 the US Air Force and NASA flew versions of the launch vehicle using the same core and solid booster technology, but with the Agena upper stage rather than the Delta. After going through a bewildering myriad of military versions it emerged as the standardized, reliable and economical Delta commercial satellite launch vehicle by the mid-1970's. Improved Delta versions continued in production into the next millennium, with nearly 1,000 airframes completed, and the end of production announced yet again in 2008.

The innumerable 'deaths' and resurrections of the Delta are described in Aerojet - The Creative Company, 1995:

Using NASA terminology, their first Delta launch vehicle was basically an Air Force Able consisting of a Thor first stage, an Able second stage, and a solid propellant third stage of nominally 2760 lbf thrust produced by Allegheny Ballistics Laboratory (ABL). These vehicles and their powerplants are discussed above as part of the Able family. The first NASA contracts for these upper stages were in 1959, deliveries began in 1961, and numerous additional contracts followed. Also in 1961, NASA shifted to the Ablestar configuration. The first launch using this configuration occurred on May 13, 1960 and, according to one source on NASA history, did not reach orbit because of a malfunction in the Aerojet stage. Aerojet's findings indicate that it never got the signal to fire. The second attempt on August 12, 1960 was successful, and these engines were used until years later when the more powerful Air Force Delta second stage ablative engines became available.

At this point the Air Force, realizing the need for a larger space launch capability separate from the civilian efforts, selected the concept of using both stages of Titan II with various third and fourth stages, and later an array of zero stages. In very general terms, they retained the Agena for Thor and Atlas upper stages, and sought a new larger and simpler third stage, which was called Transtage. Agena was, however, regularly used on both Thor and Titan lower stages, and was often favored because it was a pump fed unit and was much lighter. The desirability of low chamber pressure, ablative chambers and a pressurized propellant feed system had been demonstrated in Vanguard, Hydra, and Ablestar, which led to the selection (for Titan) of the Transtage configuration using two chambers similar to, but larger than Ablestar. A variation of this became known as the Improved Delta stage, and was used extensively on Thor -so much so that the vehicle became known as Thor/Delta, and in some cases, only as Delta, or later as Thrust Augmented Delta, Long Tank Delta, Delta - PAM, and similar versions.

The resulting (improved) Delta launch vehicle underwent a bewildering succession of changes in configuration and performance (some incremental and some extensive) which is continuing to this day. All three stages have undergone upratings and replacements with more powerful engines, and there has been a succession of increasing numbers and sizes of strap-on solid propellant rocket zero stages. Aerojet's original ablative Delta engine had a radiation cooled nozzle exit section, burned N2O4/Aerozine-50 and produced a vacuum thrust of 9000 lbf. This unit also underwent several modifications, ending up with a thrust of 10,200 lbf, and a variety of tank sizes. A throttling (variable thrust) version was developed for a Navy application, and the Delta family could be generally distinguished from Transtage engines by the fact that the Delta gimbal point was at the head end (above the valve assembly), while the Transtage engines (in addition to being smaller) gimballed at the plane of the nozzle throat.

In the early 1970s the expendable launch business was going quite well technically, but changes to reduce cost and increase payload were examined continuously. A series of Delta Alternative Studies was made, some being funded by NASA, but mostly in-house. One such study by Aerojet explored the concept of using a single barrel of the LR-87 engine. This would be used to improve Delta performance, but sufficient development funds were not available and the shuttle was receiving all the emphasis, so the idea died. Another of these studies involved the use of liquid boosters in place of the nine solid boosters then attached to the Thor as a zero stage. The concept was to use either storable or LOX/RP-1 single LR-87 thrust chambers, pressure fed from filament wound tanks. The tanks would use thin metal liners to ensure freedom from leakage - as is still required today for high pressure, light weight filament wound vessels. Aerojet's solid rocket division had done some very encouraging work on high performance solid rocket engine chambers of this same type, and the prices were very attractive. The Aerojet team: Wally Dinsmore, Bob Frew, Lynn Meland. Howard Williams, and Chris Harlambakis from our Los Angeles office had many meetings and technical discussions at Huntington Beach. Two were memorable. The first was in October 1987 when their hosts kept slipping out of the meeting to check their stocks - this was the day the stock market fell drastically. No decisions were made that day. The second meeting almost didn't start. When the Aerojet contingent arrived, there was no one in the building because of an earthquake. The meeting finally got going, and just as Wally was to give his punch line cost and schedule estimate, the building shook with a severe aftershock and plaster dust fell from the ceiling. There were no decisions made that day either. This concept, like the others, couldn't get over the hurdle of the initial development cost - and probably the image of starting up a major new booster program.

Some additional insights into the early part of NASA's long succession of changes are provided by Dan Dembrow, who worked for NASA on the Delta Program at Goddard Space Flight Center:

The Delta launch vehicle was always viewed as an interim launch vehicle in NASA's stable, and was used to retain an intermediate size orbital payload capability until larger launch vehicles were developed. The Delta Project Manager at NASA, Bill Schindler, had a knack for keeping the program alive. He would participate in the launch vehicle assignment process, and when he found that Headquarters was about to kill the Delta on the grounds that a new mission exceeded its capabilities, he would assure them that Delta could do the job. Then he would challenge his technical staff, and often with the aid of the prime contractor, McDonnell Douglas, and our Goddard technical staff, to figure out a way to extend the flight envelope. This process occurred many times, and it was extremely difficult as production launch vehicles are not meant to undergo such constant changes in design. Delta payloads grew from about 200 lbm in low earth orbit in 1960 to about 4100 lbm in geosynchronous orbit by 1990.

In the 1960s, Goddard contracted directly for many of the components (including the second stage from Aerojet), and supplied them to McDonnell Douglas as government furnished equipment (GFE). During this period, Schindler oversold what Delta could do, and each successive payload had us in a quandary. Aerojet was always ready to test changes that would increase the second stage total impulse, and did so frequently. In one such case, a special test was required, and Aerojet went to a lot of trouble to upgrade the test stand for display to NASA management. Among the improvements was a new fail-safe system, and they even went to the point of repainting the bay. At the scheduled date the NASA managers had a schedule conflict, so I was the only NASA observer.

The test took place as scheduled, the instrumentation performed flawlessly, the test values were all nominal, and suddenly the test ended unexpectedly in mid-duration. Nothing within the control room showed anything wrong. When we went out into the test bay, the newly painted walls were on fire. The heat from the fire must have damaged some wiring in the fail-safe system, which promptly terminated the firing.

Aerojet did not realize the critical nature of the test, and this failure almost inadvertently killed the Delta program. Fortunately I was the only NASA observer, and a re-test was successfully conducted within a few days, so Schindler by that time was able to persuade NASA management that all was well. The critical decision was made to fly the mission on Delta.

The customary tug-of-war between the overall vehicle contractor and component system supplier over who should supply how much of the product, began as might be expected. As long as the project remained in Azusa, we had been able to keep the costs below anything Douglas could match. However, at the time when it was to be moved to Sacramento, management required the use of the "new" Commitment Proposal Estimating System which resulted in higher estimated costs. Also, the Douglas Huntington Beach plant was extremely low on work. As a final touch, Aerojet solved the problem by arrogantly sticking to the much higher price to our customer (Douglas). They promptly responded by replacing our system with a similar unit from TRW (surplus LM units) that unfortunately had slightly lower performance. Most of the production for NASA in that time period continued with this TRW engine. Douglas also had kept wearing away Aerojet's share of the project so that we went from supplying the complete stage to the present status of supplying only the thrust chamber assembly and propellant feed lines.

After a painful hiatus, we began work in 1975 on a complete "Fat Delta" stage for the Japanese N-II launch vehicle. At this point we received Air Force funding for performance improvement, one element of which was called the Delta I.T.I.P. (Improved Transtage Injector Program), and used an improved curved face, baffled injector. A still higher performance unit was developed, using a flat faced, baffled injector, and these were used in a two barrel configuration for a classified program. Their excellent performance made this chamber configuration popular, and was the basis for a long but relatively modest rate.

The Delta 3 introduced a new cryogenic upper stage in 1998. However the vehicle began tests just as the satellite market collapsed. It was flown only three times, two of the launches being failures. Meanwhile the most numerous and successful version, the Delta 7000 series, continued in service. The completely new-design Delta 4 was supposed to replace it in service, but the Delta 7000 remained not only lower cost but the most reliable launch vehicle produced in the United States. Nevertheless, in 2008, it was announced that production would be terminated and the Delta 4 would replace it.

The configuration of Delta vehicles was encoded for forty years as follows:

  • First digit: basic vehicle configuration:

    This was defined up to 2004 as follows:

    • 0 = Castor 2 solid propellant strap-ons, Long Tank Thor core with MB-3 engine
    • 1 = Castor 2 strap-ons, Extended Long Tank core with MB-3 engine
    • 2 = Castor 2 strap-ons, Extended Long Tank core with RS-27 engine (derived from surplus H-1 engines of the Saturn IB).
    • 3 = Castor 4 solid propellant strap-ons, Extended Long Tank core with RS-27 engine
    • 4 = Castor 4A strap-ons, Extended Long Tank core with MB-3 engine
    • 5 = Castor 4A strap-ons, Extended Long Tank core with RS-27 engine
    • 6 = Castor 4A strap-ons, Extra Extended Long Tank core with RS-27 engine
    • 7 = GEM-40 solid propellant strap-ons, Extra Extended Long Tank core with RS-27A engine
    • 8 = GEM-46 solid propellant strap-ons, Delta-3 strengthened Extra Extended Long Tank core with RS-27A engine
    • 9 = GEM-60 solid propellant strap-ons, Delta-4 Lox/LH2 cryogenic core with RS-68 engine.

    After 2004 this was revised to:

    • 2 = Delta II first stage (previously Delta 6000 and 7000 series)
    • 3 = Delta III first stage (previously Delta 8000 series)
    • 4 = Delta IV first stage (previously Delta 9000 series)

  • Second digit: Number of solid propellant strap-ons (0, 3, or 9 prior to Delta IV. 0, 2, or 4 for Delta-4).

  • Third digit: Second stage

    • 0 = Delta storable propellant stage with AJ10-118 series engines
    • 1 = Delta storable propellant stage with TR-201 engines (surplus TRW Apollo Lunar Module upper stage engines)
    • 2 = Delta K storable propellant stage with AJ10-118K engine
    • 3 = Delta-3 Lox/LH2 cryogenic upper stage with RL10B-2 engine
    • 4 = Delta-4 Lox/LH2 cryogenic upper stage with 4 m diameter
    • 5 = Delta-4 Lox/LH2 cryogenic upper stage with 5 m diameter

  • Fourth digit: Third stage

    • 0 = No third stage
    • 1 = Not used
    • 2 = Not used
    • 3 = Star 37D / TE-364-3 solid propellant kick stage
    • 4 = Star 37E / TE-364-4 solid propellant kick stage
    • 5 = Star-48B / PAM-D solid propellant kick stage (often listed as '0' upper stage with a PAM-D due to the modular nature of the PAM configuration).
    • 6 = Star 37FM solid propellant kick stage
  • Optional letter after fourth character: An 'H' here indicated a 'Heavy' configuration. For Delta II, this was use of 46 inch diameter GEM solid strap-on motors in place of the standard Castor motors. For Delta IV, it indicated use of two strap-on Common Booster Cores (CBC) to supplement the CBC on the core stage.
  • Dash number: Payload fairing. For Delta II, this indicates the diameter of the fairing in feet. For Delta III or Delta IV, it indicates the length of the fairing in meters.

Failures: 78. Success Rate: 89.00%. First Fail Date: 1957-01-26. Last Fail Date: 1999-05-05. Launch data is: continuing.

Stage Data - Delta

  • Stage 1. 1 x Thor DM-19. Gross Mass: 49,340 kg (108,770 lb). Empty Mass: 3,125 kg (6,889 lb). Thrust (vac): 758.711 kN (170,565 lbf). Isp: 282 sec. Burn time: 165 sec. Isp(sl): 248 sec. Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Span: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Length: 18.42 m (60.43 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: LR-79-7. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Delta 104. Gross Mass: 4,472 kg (9,859 lb). Empty Mass: 590 kg (1,300 lb). Thrust (vac): 35.098 kN (7,890 lbf). Isp: 278 sec. Burn time: 296 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 1.40 m (4.50 ft). Span: 1.40 m (4.50 ft). Length: 5.88 m (19.29 ft). Propellants: Nitric acid/UDMH. No Engines: 1. Engine: AJ10-104. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Altair 1. Gross Mass: 238 kg (524 lb). Empty Mass: 30 kg (66 lb). Thrust (vac): 12.450 kN (2,799 lbf). Isp: 256 sec. Burn time: 38 sec. Isp(sl): 233 sec. Diameter: 0.46 m (1.50 ft). Span: 0.46 m (1.50 ft). Length: 1.83 m (6.00 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: X-248. Status: Out of Production.

Status: Active.
First Launch: 1957.01.26.
Last Launch: 2008.10.25.
Number: 704 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Pioneer 0-1-2 American lunar orbiter. 3 launches, 1958.08.17 (Pioneer (1)) to 1958.11.08 (Pioneer 2). Pioneers 0, 1 and 2 were the first U. S. spacecraft to attempt to leave Earth orbit. More...
  • KH-1 American military surveillance satellite. 22 launches, 1959.01.21 (Thor Agena test) to 1960.09.13 (Discoverer 15). First US film reconnaissance satellite, and first polar orbiting satellite. More...
  • S-2 American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1959.08.07, Explorer 6. First Earth photo; radiation data. More...
  • Transit American navigation satellite. 46 launches, 1959.09.17 (Transit 1A) to 1988.08.25 (Transit O-31). The Transit Navigation System began development in 1958. More...
  • Midas American military early warning satellite. 18 launches, 1960.02.26 (Midas 1) to 1966.10.05 (Midas 12). Part of a then-secret USAF program known as WS-117L, the MIDAS (Missile Defense Alarm System) program began in November 1958. More...
  • Pioneer 5 American solar satellite. One launch, 1960.03.11. Pioneer 5 was designed to provide the first map of the interplanetary magnetic field. The vehicle functioned for a record 106 days, and communicated with Earth from a record distance of 36.2 million km. More...
  • TIROS American earth weather satellite. 12 launches, 1960.04.01 (Tiros 1) to 1966.02.28 (ESSA 2). TIROS spacecraft were the beginning of a long series of polar-orbiting meteorological satellites. More...
  • GRAB American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 9 launches, 1960.04.13 (Dummy subsatellite) to 1965.03.09 (Solrad 7B). GRAB, the first US electronic intelligence (ELINT) satellite, was not declassified until June 1998. More...
  • Echo American passive communications satellite. 2 launches, 1960.05.13 (Echo 1) and 1960.08.12 (Echo 1). The Echo satellites were NASA's first experimental communications satellite project. More...
  • Courier American communications technology satellite. 2 launches, 1960.08.18 (Courier 1A) and 1960.10.04 (Courier 1B). Experimental communications. More...
  • KH-2 American military surveillance satellite. 10 launches, 1960.10.26 (SRV 506) to 1961.08.04 (SRV 512). Early US reconnaissance satellite. Carried one 'C-Prime' panoramic camera, with a focal length of 61 cm and a ground resolution of 9 m. More...
  • KH-5 American military surveillance satellite. 16 launches, 1961.02.17 (Discoverer 20) to 1964.08.21 (KH-5 9066A). US mapping satellite. Carried one frame camera, with a focal length of 76 mm, and a ground resolution of 140 m. More...
  • Lofti American communications technology satellite. 2 launches, 1961.02.22 (Lofti) and 1963.06.15 (Lofti 2A). The Low Frequency Trans-Ionospheric (LOFTI) satellites were produced as a cooperative effort with the Radio Division. More...
  • P-14 American solar satellite. 3 launches, 1961.02.24 (Explorer) to 1961.05.24 (Explorer). Magnetic field data. More...
  • Injun American earth magnetosphere satellite. 5 launches, 1961.06.29 (Injun 1) to 1968.08.08 (Explorer 40). Radiation decay data satellite. May also have been a cover for some NRL ELINT satellites. More...
  • EPE American solar satellite. 4 launches, 1961.08.16 (Explorer 12) to 1964.12.21 (Explorer 26). Radiation and solar wind data. More...
  • KH-3 American military surveillance satellite. 12 launches, 1961.08.30 (Discoverer 29) to 1962.01.13 (SRV 571). Early US reconnaissance satellite. Carried one 'C-Double Prime' panoramic camera, with a focal length of 61 cm and a ground resolution of 7.6 m. More...
  • TRAAC American technology satellite. One launch, 1961.11.15. Transit Research and Attitude Control. More...
  • Oscar International series of amateur radio communications satellites. Operational, first launch 1961.12.12. Launched in a variety of configurations and by many nations. More...
  • SURCAL American military target satellite. 15 launches, 1962.01.24 (Surcal) to 1969.09.30 (Surcal). More...
  • SECOR American earth geodetic satellite. 13 launches, 1962.01.24 (Secor) to 1969.04.14 (SECOR 13). More...
  • Lofti 2 American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1962.01.24. Carried 5 satellites. More...
  • Ferret American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 19 launches, 1962.02.21 (Ferret 1) to 1971.07.16 (OPS 8373). More...
  • KH-4 American military surveillance satellite. 31 launches, 1962.02.27 (Discoverer 38) to 1963.12.21 (KH-4 9062). Early US reconnaissance satellite. Carried two 'Mural' panoramic cameras, with a focal length of 61 cm, and a ground resolution of 7.6 m. More...
  • OSO American solar satellite. 9 launches, 1962.03.07 (OSO 1) to 1975.06.21 (OSO 8). The Orbiting Solar Observatories, developed for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, were designed primarily as stabilized platforms for solar-oriented scientific instruments. More...
  • Ariel American earth magnetosphere satellite. 6 launches, 1962.04.26 (Ariel 1) to 1979.06.02 (Ariel 6). Ionospheric studies; returned X-ray, ionospheric, cosmic ray data. More...
  • Anna American earth geodetic satellite. 2 launches, 1962.05.10 (Anna 1A) and 1962.10.31 (Anna 1B). More...
  • Telstar American communications satellite. 2 launches, 1962.07.10 (Telstar 1) and 1963.05.07 (Telstar 2). More...
  • ERS American earth magnetosphere satellite. 7 launches, 1962.09.17 (TRS) to 1967.04.28. Environmental Research Satellites were especially designed for piggyback launching from large primary mission vehicles. More...
  • Alouette Canadian earth magnetosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1962.09.29 (Alouette 1) and 1965.11.29 (Alouette 2). Ionospheric research. More...
  • TAVE American technology satellite. One launch, 1962.09.29. Thor Agena Vibration Experiment More...
  • Starfish American earth magnetosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1962.10.26 (Starfish Radiation 1) and 1965.09.02 (Starfish Radiation 2). Satellite collected artificial radiation data (resulting from atmospheric and exoatmospheric nuclear explosions). More...
  • NRL ELINT American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 6 launches, 1962.12.13 (Black Sphere) to 1969.09.30 (Surcal). NRL ELINT satellite. More...
  • Relay American communications technology satellite. 2 launches, 1962.12.13 (Relay 1) and 1964.01.21 (Relay 2). More...
  • Syncom American communications technology satellite. 3 launches, 1963.02.14 (Syncom I; Syncom 1) to 1964.08.19 (Syncom 3). Experimental telecommunications satellite. More...
  • KH-6 American military surveillance satellite. 3 launches, 1963.03.18 (KH-6 8001) to 1963.07.31 (KH 4A-07). US reconnaissance satellite, lashed together to meet an emergency requirement for close-up imaging of a suspected Soviet ICBM site near Tallinn. More...
  • SSF American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 54 launches, 1963.03.18 (P-11 No. 1) to 1989.08.08 (USA 41). More...
  • P 11 American technology satellite. One launch, 1963.03.18, P-11. More...
  • AE American earth atmosphere satellite. 5 launches, 1963.04.03 (Explorer 17) to 1975.11.20 (Explorer 55). Atmospheric research. More...
  • RADOSE American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1963.06.15. Radiation dosimeter measurements. More...
  • KH-4A American military surveillance satellite. 70 launches, 1963.08.25 (KH-4A 1001) to 1969.09.22 (SRV 743R). Early US reconnaissance satellite. Carried two 'J-1' panoramic cameras, with a focal length of 61 cm, and a ground resolution of 2.7 m. More...
  • LAMPO American military target satellite. One launch, 1963.08.29. More...
  • Asset American manned spaceplane. 6 launches, 1963.09.18 (ASSET 1) to 1965.02.23 (ASSET 6). One part of the Dynasoar manned spaceplane project was ASSET ( 'Aerothermodynamic Elastic Structural Systems Environmental Tests') . More...
  • APL American earth magnetosphere satellite. 3 launches, 1963.09.28 (APL SN 39) to 1964.12.13 (APL SN 43). Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built several satellites for the Air Force in the 1960's. More...
  • IMP American earth magnetosphere satellite. 10 launches, 1963.11.27 (Explorer 18) to 1973.10.26 (Explorer 50). More...
  • GGSE American gravity gradient technology satellite. 5 launches, 1964.01.11 (GGSE 1) to 1967.05.31 (GGSE 5). Developed designs and deployment techniques later applied to the NOSS / Whitecloud naval reconnaissance satellites. More...
  • AFP-43 American military technology satellite. 4 launches, 1964.01.19 (OPS 3367A) to 1964.06.18 (OPS 4467B). Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology. More...
  • Echo 2 American passive communications satellite. One launch, 1964.01.25. Passive communications satellite; balloon; 1st joint US/USSR space mission. More...
  • BE American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1964.03.19, Explorer (20). Also known as Explorer S-66. More...
  • Program 437 America's second operational anti-satellite system, launched on sub-orbital trajectories by Thor LV-2D's operated by the US Air Force from Johnson Atoll in the Pacific. Operational 1964-1970. More...
  • Starflash American earth magnetosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1964.06.13 (Starflash 1A) and 1964.08.21 (Starflash 1B). Sub-satellite of unknown purpose, released from KH-5 photo reconnaisance satellites on two missions. More...
  • Nimbus American earth weather satellite. 8 launches, 1964.08.28 (Nimbus 1) to 1978.10.13 (Nimbus 7). More...
  • OGO American earth magnetosphere satellite. 6 launches, 1964.09.05 (OGO 1) to 1969.06.05 (OGO 6). More...
  • Calsphere American military target satellite. 11 launches, 1964.10.06 (Calsphere 1) to 1971.02.17 (Calsphere 5). Radar calibration objects (but also cover for other classified subsatellites). More...
  • DMSP Block 4A American earth weather satellite. 13 launches, 1965.01.19 (DMSP-Block-4A F1) to 1969.07.23 (DMSP-Block-4A F13). Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. More...
  • DODECAPOLE American military target satellite. 2 launches, 1965.03.09 (DODECAPOLE 1/Porcupine 1) and 1965.08.13 (Dodecapole 2). More...
  • Intelsat 1 American communications satellite. One launch, 1965.04.06. Intelsat 1, also called Early Bird, was the world's first commercial communications satellite. It provided the first scheduled transoceanic TV service and was operational for 3.5 years. More...
  • Tempsat American military target satellite. 2 launches, 1965.08.13 (Tempsat 1) and 1969.09.30 (Tempsat 2). Surveillance Calibration; black 14 inch diameter. sphere. More...
  • GEOS American solar satellite. 3 launches, 1965.11.06 (Explorer 29) to 1975.04.09 (Geos 3). The GEOS spacecraft were gravity-gradient-stabilized, solar-cell powered satellites designed exclusively for geodetic studies. More...
  • DME American earth ionosphere satellite. One launch, 1965.11.29, Explorer 31. Explorer 31, the Direct Measurement Explorer, was launched with a Canadian Alouette II on November 28, 1965, on a Thor-Agena rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. More...
  • Pioneer 6-7-8-9-E American solar satellite. 5 launches, 1965.12.16 (Pioneer 6) to 1969.08.27 (Pioneer E). Pioneers 6, 7, 8, and 9 were created to make the first detailed, comprehensive measurements of the solar wind, solar magnetic field and cosmic rays. More...
  • Pageos American earth geodetic satellite. 3 launches, 1966.06.24 (Pageos 1) to (Pageos canister half). 100 foot diameter. balloon. More...
  • TOS American earth weather satellite. 7 launches, 1966.10.02 (ESSA 3) to 1969.02.26 (ESSA 9). TOS spacecraft marked the first operational system of US polar-orbiting meteorological satellites. More...
  • Intelsat 2 American communications satellite. 4 launches, 1966.10.26 (Intelsat 2 F-1) to 1967.09.28 (Intelsat 2 F-4). The Intelsat 2 series expanded ITSO coverage to include 2/3 of the Earth's surface. More...
  • Biosatellite American biology satellite. 3 launches, 1966.12.14 (Biosatellite 1) to 1969.06.29 (Biosatellite 3). Biosatellite was a NASA spacecraft designed in the early 1960's to study the effects of the space environment on living organisms in missions. More...
  • Timation American navigation technology satellite. 2 launches, 1967.05.31 (Timation 1) and 1969.09.30 (Timation 2). More...
  • Aurora American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1967.06.29. Investigated aurora borealis. More...
  • KH-4B American military surveillance satellite. 24 launches, 1967.09.15 (KH-4B 1101) to 1972.05.25 (KH-4B 1117). Early US reconnaissance satellite. Carried two 'J-3' panoramic cameras, with a focal length of 61 cm, and a ground resolution of 1.8 m. More...
  • TTS American tracking network technology satellite. 2 launches, 1967.12.13 (TTS 1) and 1968.11.08 (TTS 2; TATS 2 (TETR 2)). Tested Apollo tracking network. More...
  • RAE American radio astronomy satellite. 2 launches, 1968.07.04 (Explorer 38) to 1973.06.10 (Explorer 49). More...
  • Intelsat 3 American communications satellite. 8 launches, 1968.09.19 (Intelsat-3 F-1) to 1970.07.23 (Intelsat 3 F-8). Intelsat 3 spacecraft were used to relay commercial global telecommunications including live TV. More...
  • HEOS European earth magnetosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1968.12.05 (HEOS 1) and 1972.01.31 (HEOS 2). Highly Eccentric Orbiting Satellite; examined magnetic fields outside of Earth's magnetosphere. More...
  • Program 922 American military anti-satellite system. Study 1968. Program 922 was a non-nuclear sub-orbital ASAT in development in the late 1960's. More...
  • Isis Canadian earth magnetosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1969.01.30 (Isis 1) and 1971.04.01 (Isis 2). Ionospheric measurements; data correlated with measurements from Alouette 1. More...
  • PAC American technology satellite. One launch, 1969.08.09. Package Attitude Control; semi-active gravity gradient stabilization tests. More...
  • TETR American tracking network technology satellite. 2 launches, 1969.08.27 (TETR C) and 1971.09.29 (TETR 3). Test satellite for NASA's Manned Space Flight Network. More...
  • SOICAL American military target satellite. 2 launches, 1969.09.30 (SOICAL Cone) and (SOICAL Cylinder). Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology. More...
  • NATO 1 British military communications satellite. 4 launches, 1969.11.22 (Skynet 1A) to 1971.02.03 (NATO 2). Military communications. More...
  • ITOS American earth weather satellite. 8 launches, 1970.01.23 (ITOS 1) to 1976.07.29 (NOAA 5). ITOS was the follow-on to the TIROS series of polar-orbiting US weather satellites, and marked the beginning of the use of the NOAA designator. More...
  • SERT American ion engine technology satellite. One launch, 1970.02.04. Electric ion engine tests. More...
  • DMSP Block 5A American earth weather satellite. 3 launches, 1970.02.11 (DMSP-Block-5A F1) to 1971.02.17 (DMSP Block 5A F3). Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. More...
  • TOPO American earth geodetic satellite. One launch, 1970.04.08. US Army topographic / geodesic satellite launched in 1970. More...
  • CEPE American satellite. One launch, 1970.12.11. Cylindrical Electrostatic Probe Experiment (orbital experiment attached to Delta second stage) More...
  • SESP American military technology satellite. 3 launches, 1971.06.08 (SESP 70-1) to 1976.07.08 (SESP 74-2). Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology. More...
  • DMSP Block 5B American earth weather satellite. 5 launches, 1971.10.14 (DMSP-Block-5B F1) to 1974.03.16 (DMSP-Block-5B F5). Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. More...
  • ASTEX American technology satellite. One launch, 1971.10.17. Space Test Program; technology experiments. More...
  • NOSS American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 22 launches, 1971.12.14 (OPS 7898 P/L 1) to 1993.08.02 (TLD). Ocean surveillance; aka White Cloud type spacecraft; Navy Ocean Surveillance Satellite; PARCAE. More...
  • TD-1A European technology satellite. One launch, 1972.03.12. Sixth satellite of ESRO. More...
  • Landsat 1-2-3 American earth land resources satellite. 3 launches, 1972.07.23 (Landsat 1) to 1978.03.05 (Landsat 3). The first 3 Landsat missions were also known as the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) series. More...
  • HS 333 American communications satellite. 8 launches, 1972.11.10 (Anik A1) to 1979.08.10 (Westar 3). The satellites, act as space repeaters capable of receiving transmissions from earth stations and retransmitting them to other earth stations in Canada. More...
  • Skynet British military communications satellite. 2 launches, 1974.01.19 (Skynet 2A) and 1974.11.23 (Skynet 2B). More...
  • SMS American earth weather satellite. 2 launches, 1974.05.17 (SMS 1) and 1975.02.06 (SMS 2). Synchronous Meteorological Satellite. More...
  • DMSP Block 5C American earth weather satellite. 3 launches, 1974.08.09 (DMSP-Block-5C F1) to 1976.02.19 (DMSP-Block-5C F3). Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. More...
  • Intasat Spanish communications technology satellite. One launch, 1974.11.15. Spanish communications satellite. More...
  • Symphonie French communications technology satellite. One launch, 1974.12.18. Experimental telecommunications satellite, constructed jointly by France and the Federal Republic of Germany. More...
  • COS European technology satellite. One launch, 1975.08.09. CERS/ESRO satellite, first European Space Agency satellite. More...
  • Spacebus 100 French communications satellite. 12 launches, 1975.08.26 (Symphonie 2) to 1994.01.24 (Eutelsat II F5). 3-axis stabilized using bipropellant thrusters (750 kg propellant - unified with apogee insertion and maneuvering propulsion) and momentum wheels. More...
  • ETS Japanese technology satellite. 7 launches, 1975.09.09 (Kiku 1) to 2006.12.16 (Kiku 8). More...
  • GOES American earth weather satellite. 8 launches, 1975.10.16 (GOES 1) to 1987.02.26 (GOES 7). Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. More...
  • AS 1000 American communications satellite. 3 launches, 1975.12.13 (Satcom 1) to 1979.12.07 (RCA Satcom 3). More...
  • CTS Canadian communications satellite. One launch, 1976.01.17. Canadian Telecommunications Satellite project. Only one spacecraft launched. More...
  • Marisat American communications satellite. 3 launches, 1976.02.19 (Marisat 1) to 1976.10.14 (Marisat 3). Maritime communications. More...
  • JISS Japanese earth ionosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1976.02.29 (ISS 1) to 1978.02.16 (ISS 2). JISS - national name "Ume". Spin-stabilized; Ionospheric Sounder, Radio Noise Receiver, Plasma Measuring Equipment, Ion Mass Spectrometer, and other instruments. More...
  • NATO 3 British military communications satellite. 4 launches, 1976.04.22 (NATO 3A) to 1984.11.14 (NATO 3D). Military communications. More...
  • LAGEOS American earth geodetic satellite. 2 launches, 1976.05.04 (Lageos) and 1992.10.22 (Lageos 2). The LAGEOS satellites were passive vehicles covered with retroreflectors designed to reflect laser beams transmitted from ground stations. More...
  • DMSP Block 5D American earth weather satellite. 5 launches, 1976.09.11 (AMS 1) to 1980.07.15 (AMS 5). Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. More...
  • ESA-Geos European earth magnetosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1977.04.20 (ESA-Geos 1) and 1978.07.14 (ESA-Geos 2). Magnetospheric research. European Space Agency satellite. More...
  • GMS Japanese earth weather satellite. 5 launches, 1977.07.14 (Himawari 1) to 1995.03.18 (Himawari 5). The Geostationary Meteorological Satellite series were spin-stabilized satellites. More...
  • Sirio Italian communications technology satellite. 2 launches, 1977.08.25 (Sirio 1) and 1982.09.09 (Sirio 2). SIRIO was a spin stabilized geostationary experimental communications satellite with a nominal life of two years. More...
  • ECS/OTS European communications satellite. 20 launches, 1977.09.13 (OTS 1) to 2001.02.07 (Skynet 4F). More...
  • ISEE American earth magnetosphere satellite. 3 launches, 1977.10.22 (ISEE 1) to 1978.08.12 (ISEE 3). These Explorer-class heliocentric spacecraft were part of the mother/daughter/heliocentric mission (ISEE 1, 2, and 3). More...
  • Meteosat European earth weather satellite. 7 launches, 1977.11.23 (Meteosat 1) to 1997.09.02 (Meteosat 7). More...
  • CS-1 Japanese communications satellite. One launch, 1977.12.15, Sakura. This Medium-capacity Communications Satellite for Experimental Purposes was a spin stabilized geostationary communications satellite. More...
  • IUE American ultraviolet astronomy satellite. One launch, 1978.01.26. More...
  • PIX American technology satellite. One launch, 1978.03.05. Plasma Interaction Experiment. More...
  • Yuri Japanese communications technology satellite. One launch, 1978.04.07. Medium-scale broadcasting satellite for experimental purposes. More...
  • CAMEO American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1978.10.13. Released barium cloud. More...
  • Anik Canadian communications satellite. 2 launches, 1978.12.15 (Anik B1 (Telesat 4)) and (DRIMS). Function - telecommunications. Operating entity - Telesat Canada. More...
  • SCATHA American communications technology satellite. One launch, 1979.01.30. More...
  • Ayame Japanese communications technology satellite. 2 launches, 1979.02.06 (Ayame 1) and 1980.02.22 (Ayame 2). Experimental Communications Satellite (ECS). Communications and propagation experiments of satellite-communication systems. More...
  • SMM American solar satellite. One launch, 1980.02.14. The Solar Maximum Mission (SMM) was intended primarily to study solar flares and related phenomena. More...
  • HS 376 American communications satellite. 56 launches, 1980.11.15 (SBS 1) to 2003.09.27 (E-Bird). Mass 654 kg at beginning-of-life in geosynchronous orbit. Spin stabilized at 50 rpm by 4 hydrazine thrusters with 136 kg propellant. More...
  • Insat 1 Indian communications satellite. 5 launches, 1981.06.19 (Apple) to 1990.06.12 (Insat-1D; Insat 1D). Experimental communications satellite. More...
  • Dynamics Explorer American earth magnetosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1981.08.03 (Dynamics Explorer 1) and (Dynamics Explorer 2). Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space. More...
  • MicroSat SSTL British technology satellite. 3 launches, 1981.10.06 (CERISE) to 1990.01.22 (Oscar 14). Original version of the Surrey Microsat bus. More...
  • SME American solar satellite. One launch, 1981.10.06. The Solar Mesosphere Explorer satellite was developed to investigate the processes that create and destroy ozone in the Earth's upper atmosphere. More...
  • AS 3000 American communications satellite. 25 launches, 1981.11.20 (RCA Satcom 4; RCA Satcom 3R) to 1996.01.14 (Koreasat 2). More...
  • Landsat 4-5 American earth land resources satellite. 2 launches, 1982.07.16 (Landsat 4) to 1984.03.01 (Landsat 5). More...
  • IRAS American infrared astronomy satellite. 2 launches, 1983.01.26 (IRAS) and (PIX 2). All-sky survey of astronomical IR bodies. More...
  • CS-2 Japanese communications satellite. 2 launches, 1983.02.04 (Sakura 2A) to 1983.08.05 (Sakura 2B). Business communications. Launching organization NASDA (National Space Development Agency of Japan). More...
  • Exosat European x-ray astronomy satellite. One launch, 1983.05.26. EXOSAT was a space research satellite of the European Space Agency. More...
  • AMPTE American earth magnetosphere satellite. 4 launches, 1984.08.16 (CCE-1) to (Solar Cell Experiment). Charge Composition Explorer; detected tracer ions released into magnetosphere by IRM. More...
  • ASC British military communications satellite. 3 launches, 1985.08.27 (ASC-1) to 1991.04.13 (ASC-2 / Spacenet F4). More...
  • EGS Japanese earth geodetic satellite. One launch, 1986.08.12. Experimental Geophysical Payload; new launch vehicle test flight. EGS (Ajisai). Improvement of the accuracy of domestic geodetic triangulation network. More...
  • MABES Japanese technology satellite. One launch, 1986.08.12. MABES (Jindai). Experiment on the levitation of the magnetic bearing flywheel under zero-g condition. More...
  • SDI American military strategic defense satellite. 18 launches, 1986.09.05 (USA 19) to 1989.03.24 (USA 36). SDIO sensor tests. More...
  • Marine Observation Satellite Japanese earth sea satellite. 2 launches, 1987.02.19 (MOS-1) to 1990.02.07 (MOS-1b). The MOS 1A and 1B satellites, also known as Momo 1A and 1B, were Japan's first Earth resources satellites. More...
  • CS-3 Japanese communications satellite. 2 launches, 1988.02.19 (Sakura 3A) to 1988.09.16 (Sakura 3B). To continue communications services provided by the communications satellite 2 (CS-2). To meet increasing and diversifying demands for communications. More...
  • GPS Block 2 and 2A American navigation satellite. 28 launches, 1989.02.14 (USA 35) to 1997.11.06 (USA 134). The Navstar GPS constellation worked in concert with ground receivers to give precise location information to military and civilian users anywhere in the world. More...
  • COBE American infrared astronomy satellite. One launch, 1989.11.18. More...
  • HS 601 American communications satellite bus. First launch 1990.01.09. 3-axis unified ARC 22 N and one Marquardt 490 N bipropellant thrusters, Sun and Barnes Earth sensors and two 61 Nms 2-axis gimbaled momentum bias wheels. More...
  • Debut Japanese communications technology satellite. One launch, 1990.02.07. Boom, umbrella test. DEBUT "Orizuru". Experiment of extending and contracting boom; experiment of expanding and contracting aerodynamic brake. Launching organization NASDA. More...
  • RME American military strategic defense satellite. One launch, 1990.02.14, USA 52. The Relay Mirror Experiment (RME) was launched as a dual payload with LACE. More...
  • LACE American military strategic defense satellite. One launch, 1990.02.14, USA 51. The Low-power Atmospheric Compensation Experiment was part of a dual payload with RME carrying laser defense experiments. More...
  • ROSAT German x-ray astronomy satellite. One launch, 1990.06.01. West German extreme UV, X-ray telescope; all-sky survey. More...
  • Eurostar 1000 French communications satellite. 4 launches, 1990.10.30 (Inmarsat 2 F1) to 1992.04.15 (Inmarsat 2 F4). The Eurostar 1000 platform was the first generation of Matra Marconi Space GEO satellite platforms serving mainly commercial telecoms applications. More...
  • Losat American military strategic defense satellite. One launch, 1991.07.07. Test flight of DOD sensors; Low Altitude Satellite Experiment. More...
  • JERS Japanese earth land resources satellite. One launch, 1992.02.11. JERS-1 (Japanese Research Satellite-1; FUYO-1) was Japan's second Earth observation satellite. More...
  • EUVE American ultraviolet astronomy satellite. One launch, 1992.06.07. The EUVE Extreme Ultra-Violet Explorer mission mapped space in the 70- to 760-angstrom portion of the spectrum and conducted detailed ultraviolet examinations of selected celestial targets. More...
  • DUVE Japanese earth atmosphere satellite. One launch, 1992.07.24. Diffuse Ultraviolet Explorer package bolted to Delta 2 2nd stage. More...
  • Geotail Japanese earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1992.07.24. Measured magnetosphere and Earth's geomagnetic tail; Diffuse Ultraviolet Explorer package bolted to Delta 2 second stage. More...
  • SEDS American tether technology satellite. 4 launches, 1993.03.30 (SEDS 1) to 1994.03.10 (SEDS 2 Deployer). More...
  • PMG American tether technology satellite. 2 launches, 1993.06.26 (PMG) and (PMG). Plasma Motor Generator More...
  • Wind American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1994.11.01. Wind was designed to provide continuous measurement of the solar wind, particularly charged particles and magnetic field data. More...
  • Radarsat Canadian earth resources radar satellite. Two launches, 1995.11.04 (Radarsat) and 2007.12.14 (Radarsat). Canada's Radarsat was a radar satellite featuring variable resolution, and different view angles at a number of preset positions. More...
  • SURFSAT-1 American technology satellite. One launch, 1995.11.04, SURFSAT. SURFSAT-1 was a small satellite built by undergraduate college students and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to support experiments by NASA's Deep Space Network. More...
  • XTE American x-ray astronomy satellite. One launch, 1995.12.30. X-ray Timing Explorer; X-ray astronomy. More...
  • NEAR American asteroid probe. One launch, 1996.02.17. NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) was the first spacecraft ever to orbit and then (improvisationally) land on an asteroid. More...
  • Polar American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1996.02.24. Polar was designed to measure the entry, energization, and transport of plasma into the magnetosphere as part of the International Solar Terrestrial Program (ISTP). More...
  • MSX American military strategic defense satellite. One launch, 1996.04.24. More...
  • Mars Global Surveyor American Mars orbiter. One launch, 1996.11.07. Mars Global Surveyor was a polar orbiting spacecraft designed to monitor Martian global weather and provide comprehensive maps of surface topography and the distribution of minerals. More...
  • Mars Pathfinder American Mars rover. 3 launches, 1996.12.04 (Mars Pathfinder) to (Mars Pathfinder). Mars lander with surface rover. Landed a mini-rover to the Mars surface. Test of airbag and rover technologies. First successful Mars landing mission since Viking. More...
  • GPS Block 2R American navigation satellite. 21 launches, 1997.01.17 (USA 132) to 2009-08-17. Launches began in 1997 of 'GPS-IIR' replenishment satellites, produced by General Electric Astrospace (later acquired by Lockheed Missiles & Space). More...
  • LM 700 American communications satellite. 98 launches, 1997.05.05 (Iridium 8) to 2002.06.20 (Iridium SV98 ). The LM 700 had its first use in the Iridium system, a commercial communications network comprised of a minimum of 66 LEO spacecraft. More...
  • ACE American solar satellite. One launch, 1997.08.25. More...
  • Globalstar American communications satellite. 72 launches, 1998.02.14 (Globalstar FM1) to 2007.10.20 (Globalstar D). The Globalstar constellation was a Medium Earth Orbit system for mobile voice and data communications. More...
  • SEDSAT American technology satellite. One launch, 1998.10.24. The SEDSAT micro-satellite was built by the Huntsville, Alabama chapter of SEDS (the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space). More...
  • Deep Space 1 American asteroid probe. One launch, 1998.10.24. Deep Space 1 (DS1) was a primarily a technology demonstration probe powered by an ion engine, although the spacecraft also flew by asteroid and cometary targets. More...
  • MCO American Mars orbiter. One launch, 1998.12.11, Mars Climate Orbiter. The Mars Climate Orbiter was to have accomplished mapping and weather studies of Mars and served as a relay for data from the Mars Polar Lander. More...
  • Mars Polar Lander American Mars lander. One launch, 1999.01.03. The Mars Polar Lander had the mission of studying Martian volatiles (frozen water and carbon dioxide) and climate history. The Martian polar regions were the best places to conduct these studies. More...
  • Stardust American comet probe. One launch, 1999.02.07. Stardust was scheduled to encounter comet Wild-2 early in 2004 and collect samples of cometary dust and volatiles while flying through the coma at a distance of 100 km on the sunlit side of the nucleus. More...
  • Sunsat South African technology satellite. One launch, 1999.02.23. Sunsat was built by students at Stellenbosch University, South Africa and carried a small imager and a message relay payload. More...
  • ARGOS American ion engine technology satellite. One launch, 1999.02.23. ARGOS was the USAF Space Test Program P91-1 technology satellite by Boeing/Seal Beach. More...
  • Orsted Danish earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1999.02.23. More...
  • Landsat 7 American earth land resources satellite. One launch, 1999.04.15. More...
  • FUSE American ultraviolet astronomy satellite. One launch, 1999.06.24. FUSE carried four 0.35m far ultraviolet telescopes each with an ultraviolet high resolution spectrograph. More...
  • IMAGE American solar satellite. One launch, 2000.03.25. The IMAGE spacecraft imaged remote particle populations in the magnetosphere. More...
  • SAC-C Argentinan earth land resources satellite. One launch, 2000.11.21. The SAC-C Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas C was developed by the Argentine space agency CONAE and built by the Argentine company INVAP. More...
  • EO-1 American earth land resources satellite. One launch, 2000.11.21. The Earth Orbiter 1 satellite was part of NASA's New Millennium Program. More...
  • Munin Swedish technology satellite. One launch, 2000.11.21. Small 6 kg Munin nanosatellite was built by Swedish students in collaboration with the Swedish Institute for Space Physics (IRF) and carried a particle detector, a spectrometer, and an auroral camera. More...
  • Mars Odyssey American Mars orbiter. One launch, 2001.04.07, 2001 Mars Odyssey. Mars Odyssey had the primary science mission of mapping the amount and distribution of chemical elements and minerals that make up the Martian surface. More...
  • GeoLITE American military communications satellite. One launch, 2001.05.18, USA 158. GeoLITE was a TRW T-310 class satellite with a mass of about 1800 kg, including a solid apogee motor. More...
  • MAP American infrared astronomy satellite. One launch, 2001.06.30. NASA's Microwave Anisotropy Probe was placed at the L2 Earth-Moon Lagrangian point 1. More...
  • QuickBird American civilian surveillance satellite. One launch, 2001.10.18. The QuickBird commercial imaging satellite was owned by DigitalGlobe (formerly EarthWatch) and used a Ball BCP2000 bus with a launch mass of 1028 kg and a dry mass of about 995 kg. More...
  • TIMED American solar satellite. One launch, 2001.12.07. TIMED was the first NASA Solar Terrestrial Probe, operated by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab to study the thermosphere, mesosphere and lower ionosphere. More...
  • Jason French earth sea satellite. 2 launches, 2001.12.07 (Jason 1) and 2008.06.20 (Jason 2). Jason was a joint mission between CNES (the French space agency) and NASA/JPL, carrying the same type of sea surface altimeter used on NASA's Topex satellite. More...
  • Aqua American earth sea satellite. One launch, 2002.05.04. Aqua was also designated the EOS-PM Earth Observing System satellite, joining EOS-AM/Terra. The CERES and MODIS instruments aboard Aqua were also carried on the Terra satellite. More...
  • ICESat American earth land resources satellite. One launch, 2003.01.13. More...
  • CHIPSat American ultraviolet astronomy satellite. One launch, 2003.01.13. NASA's Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer (CHIPS) mission used the CHIPSat bus. More...
  • XSS American rendezvous technology satellite. 2 launches, 2003.01.29 (XSS-10) and 2005.04.11 (USA 165). More...
  • MER American Mars lander. 2 launches, 2003.06.10 (Spirit (Mars Exploration Rover A, MER-2)) to 2003.07.08 (Opportunity (Mars Exploration Rover B, MER-1)). NASA's rover mission design for the 2003 Mars launch opportunity. More...
  • SIRTF American infrared astronomy satellite. One launch, 2003.08.25. The SIRTF (Space Infrared Telescope Facility) was planned as a 1 meter class, cryogenically cooled space telescope to be operated as an observatory for infrared astronomy. More...
  • Gravity Probe-B American earth geodetic satellite. One launch, 2004.04.20, Gravity Probe B. Gravity Probe B was an experiment developed by NASA and Stanford University to test two unverified predictions of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. More...
  • Aura American earth atmosphere satellite. One launch, 2004.07.15. Earth Observing System (EOS) Aura was a NASA mission to study the Earth's ozone, air quality and climate. More...
  • Messenger American Mercury probe. One launch, 2004.08.03. NASA probe, launched in 2004 with the challenging mission of comprehensively mapping Mercury from orbit between March 2011 and March 2012. More...
  • Swift American gamma ray astronomy satellite. One launch, 2004.11.20. Swift was a first-of-its-kind multi-wavelength observatory dedicated to the study of gamma-ray burst (GRB) science. More...
  • Deep Impact American comet probe. One launch, 2005.01.12. Studied interior composition of Comet Tempel 1. The flyby spacecraft carried a smaller impactor which it released, allowing it to study the plume from the collision with the comet on 2005.07.04. More...
  • Cloudsat American earth weather satellite. One launch, 2006.04.28. More...
  • Calipso American earth weather satellite. One launch, 2006.04.28. More...
  • Mitex American military anti-satellite system. 3 launched, 2006.06.21 (USA 187) to (USA 189). More...
  • Stereo American solar satellite. 2 launched, 2006.10.26 (Stereo Ahead) and (Stereo Behind). More...
  • USA 193 American military technology satellite. One launch, 2006.12.14, US shoots down failed USA 193 satellite.. Classifed NRO mission of uncertain objectives, possibly military observation with a mixed payload. More...
  • Cosmo-SkyMed Italian military surveillance radar satellite. Constellation of four satellites launched 2007.06.08 - 2010.11.06. More...
  • Phoenix American Mars lander. One launch, 2007.08.04. Mars lander based on surplus hardware from the cancelled Mars Surveyor 2001 and the failed Mars Polar Lander (whence the Phoenix designation). More...
  • WorldView American civilian surveillance satellite. First launch 2007.09.18. DigitalGlobe's WorldView satellite provided highly detailed imagery for precise map creation, change detection and in-depth image analysis. More...
  • Dawn American asteroid probe. One launch, 2007.09.27. Asteroid belt unmanned probe designed to first orbit and survey the asteroid Vesta, and then fly on to the largest asteroid, Ceres. Orbit asteroids Ceres and Vesta. More...
  • GLAST American gamma ray astronomy satellite. One launch, 2008.06.11, Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope. Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope; renamed Fermi GST after launch. More...

Associated Engines
  • AJ10-104 Aerojet Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. 35.1 kN. Isp=278s. Stainless steel version of the basic Able engine, uprated to increase thrust 34.7 kN to 37.0 kN and to increase the duration 2-1/2 times First flight 1960. More...
  • LR79-7 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 758.7 kN. Out of production. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Isp=282s. First flight 1957. More...
  • X-248 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 12.4 kN. Isp=256s. Used on Atlas Able, Blue Scout 2, Caleb, Delta, Delta A, Delta B, Delta C. First flight 1959. More...

See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

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

Bibliography
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  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Report (Internet Newsletter), Harvard University, Weekly, 1989 to Present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Krebs, Gunter, Gunter's Space Page, University of Frankfurt, 1996. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
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  • Emme, Eugene M, Aeronautical and Astronautical Events of 1961 Report of NASA to the Committee on Science and Astronautics US House of Representatives 87th Cong 2d Sess, NASA, 1962. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Gatland, Kenneth, Missiles and Rockets, Macmillan, New York, 1975.
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  • Bramscher, Robert G, "A Survey of Launch Vehicle Failures", Spaceflight, 1980, Volume 22, page 351.
  • Wilson, Andrew, "Delta Digest", Spaceflight, 1979, Volume 10, page 413.
  • McDowell, Jonathon, "US Reconnaissance Satellite Programs Part 2", Quest, 1995, Volume 4, Issue 4, page 49.
  • NASA GSFC Orbital Parameters,
  • Boeing Corporation, Delta III Payload Planner's Guide, Publication number MDC 95H0137A, March 1997.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Nicholas, Ted G., U.S. Missile Data Book, 1983, Seventh Edition, Data Search Associates, Fountain Valley, California, 1982..
  • National Space Science Center Planetary Page, As of 19 February 1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NSSDC System for Information Retrieval and Storage (SIRS),
  • Aerospace Yearbook, 1966,
  • Dorman, Bernie, et. al., Aerojet: The Creative Company, Stuart F Cooper Company, Los Angeles, 1995..
  • Payne, Philip, Personal communication, December 1, 2000.,
  • NASA/GSFC Orbital Information Group Website, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Space-Launcher.com, Orbital Report News Agency. Web Address when accessed: here.

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