Encyclopedia Astronautica
Delta 3 - 1

Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 104,377/6,822 kg. Thrust 1,085.79 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 302 seconds. The first stage of the Delta III is powered by a Rocketdyne RS-27A main engine which has a 12:1 expansion ratio and employs a turbine/turbopump, a regeneratively cooled thrust chamber and nozzle, and a hydraulically gimbaled thrust chamber and nozzle that provides pitch and yaw control.

Two Rocketdyne vernier engines provide roll control during main-engine burn, and attitude control between main-engine cutoff (MECO) and second-stage separation. High repeatability of mixture ratio ensures very accurate propellant utilization for the engines. The Rocketdyne RS-27A main and vernier engines are both unchanged from Delta II.

Status: Retired 2000.
Gross mass: 104,377 kg (230,111 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 6,822 kg (15,039 lb).
Height: 20.00 m (65.00 ft).
Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft).
Span: 4.00 m (13.10 ft).
Thrust: 1,085.79 kN (244,095 lbf).
Specific impulse: 302 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 254 s.
Burn time: 320 s.
Number: 3 .

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • RS-27A Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 1054.2 kN. . Isp=302s. Replaced the RS-27 as the main system for the Delta and in the MA- 5A for the Atlas. RS2701B main engine, and twin LR101-NA-11 verniers. First flight 1989. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta 3 American orbital launch vehicle. Delta 3 was an attempt by the manufacturer to provide the ultimate development of the original Delta booster. The core vehicle was beefed-up to accomodate much larger solid rocket boosters and a new cryogenic upper stage. However problems were incurred during development, resulting in the first two launches being failures. Meanwhile the satellite launch market crashed and the new vehicle was left without customers. The venerable Delta 7925 soldiered on for NASA, and the new Delta 4 series captured the USAF EELV requirement. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/Kerosene Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene. More...

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