First Operational Launch of the Delta IV Heavy

United Launch Alliance successfully launched the first operational Delta IV Heavy expendable launch vehicle for the U.S. Air Force on Saturday, November 10, at 8;50 PM EST from Space Launch Complex-37. It was carrying the service’s Defense Support Program-23 satellite.

The Delta IV Heavy (Delta 9250H) uses two strap-on boosters which are separated earlier in the flight than the center booster. The capacity (separated spacecraft mass) of the Delta IV Heavy:

geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) 13,130 kg (28,950 lb), more than any other currently available launch vehicle

geosynchronous orbit (GEO) 6,275 kg

escape orbit 9,306 kg

It stands 253.2 feet tall at launch, compared to a Space Shuttle which stands 149.6 feet tall at launch, or compared to the Saturn V that stood 363 feet tall. The Delta IV Heavy’s total mass at launch is approximately 733,000 kg, much less than that of the Space Shuttle (2,040,000 kg).

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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