May 30, 2024

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ULA successfully completed the final launch of Delta IV Heavy, marking the end of the Delta sorae Portal series operations into space

ULA successfully completed the final launch of Delta IV Heavy, marking the end of the Delta sorae Portal series operations into space

United Launch Alliance (ULA), an American private space company, announced on April 10, 2024 (Japanese time) the “NROL-70” launch mission using the company’s “Delta IV Heavy” rocket, and we successfully launched a reconnaissance satellite for the United States . National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). NROL-70 is the final launch mission for the Delta IV Heavy rocket, and the new rocket that ULA will work on in the future will be replaced by the new Vulcan rocket.

[▲ Delta IV Heavy في انتظار الإطلاق في منشأة الإطلاق (الائتمان: ULA)]
[▲ Delta IV Heavy في انتظار الإطلاق في منشأة الإطلاق (الائتمان: ULA)]

NROL-70 launch

A Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying an NRO reconnaissance satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station 37 in Florida, United States, at 1:53 a.m. on April 10, 2024 (12:53 a.m. EDT on April 9, 2024). Launch facility. According to ULA, the two boosters were separated 3 minutes and 57 seconds after launch, the second stage engine was ignited 5 minutes and 55 seconds after launch, and the fairing was separated 6 minutes and 37 seconds after launch.

[▲ تم إطلاق Delta IV Heavy من مجمع إطلاق محطة كيب كانافيرال لقوة الفضاء 37 (الائتمان: ULA)][▲ تم إطلاق Delta IV Heavy من مجمع إطلاق محطة كيب كانافيرال لقوة الفضاء 37 (الائتمان: ULA)]
[▲ تم إطلاق Delta IV Heavy من مجمع إطلاق محطة كيب كانافيرال لقوة الفضاء 37 (الائتمان: ULA)]

The launch was broadcast on ULA's official YouTube channel, but at the NRO's request, the broadcast ended after the giveaway was separated. Although detailed information about the satellite has not been released, ULA and the NRO announced that the launch was successful about seven hours after launch.

■ History of the Delta rocket

NROL-70 was the final launch of a Delta IV Heavy rocket, and also the final launch mission of the Delta series of rockets, which have been in use since the 1960s.

Delta is a missile that has been under development since the late 1950s. It is based on the “Thor” medium-range ballistic missile, and it was launched for the first time in August 1960, successfully carrying the “Echo 1A” communications satellite. In February 1989, the Delta 2 rocket was launched for the first time, contributing to the construction of the Global Positioning System (GPS) by placing several positioning satellites of the US Army's GPS satellites in Orbit. Delta 2 was also launched as the Mars Global Surveyor in December 1996, the Mars rover Spirit in June 2003, and the Mars rover in July 2003. We also contributed to the development of planetary exploration by launching the “Oppotunity” and the Mercury “Messenger” probes. “In August 2004.

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In 1998, the successor to the Delta 2, the Delta 3 rocket, was launched for the first time, but was short-lived due to a series of failures (two failures and one partial failure).

[▲DeltaIIwaslaunchedinNovember2017carryingthenextgenerationweathersatellite[▲تمإطلاقDeltaIIفينوفمبر/تشرينالثاني2017حاملاًالجيلالتاليمنالقمرالصناعيللطقس[▲DeltaIIwaslaunchedinNovember2017carryingthenextgenerationweathersatellite[▲تمإطلاقDeltaIIفينوفمبر/تشرينالثاني2017حاملاًالجيلالتاليمنالقمرالصناعيللطقس
[▲ تم إطلاق Delta II في نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني 2017 حاملاً الجيل التالي من القمر الصناعي للطقس “JPSS-1” (مصدر الصورة NASA/Kim Shiflett)]

The Delta 4 rocket, which was first launched in November 2002, is a large two-stage rocket. There are two types: “medium”, where two or four solid-propellant rocket boosters are attached to the first stage primary aircraft as necessary, and “heavy”, where two primary aircraft are attached as liquid-propellant rocket boosters. The primary aircraft is equipped with a single RS-68A engine (a total of three heavy aircraft engines), and the second upper stage is equipped with a single RL10B-2 engine. They both use liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants.

Medium was first launched in November 2002, and its final launch was on the NROL-47 mission in January 2018. The first launch of the Heavy rocket was in December 2004, and as mentioned above, the final NROL-70 launch was in April 2024.

[▲DeltaIVMediumwaslaunchedinMarch2010carryingageostationarymeteorologicalsatellite[▲تمإطلاقDeltaIVMediumفيمارس/آذار2010حاملاًقمرالأرصادالجويةالثابتبالنسبةللأرض[▲DeltaIVMediumwaslaunchedinMarch2010carryingageostationarymeteorologicalsatellite[▲تمإطلاقDeltaIVMediumفيمارس/آذار2010حاملاًقمرالأرصادالجويةالثابتبالنسبةللأرض
[▲ تم إطلاق Delta IV Medium في مارس/آذار 2010 حاملاً قمر الأرصاد الجوية الثابت بالنسبة للأرض “GOES-P” الذي تديره الإدارة الوطنية للمحيطات والغلاف الجوي (NOAA) (مصدر الصورة NASA)]

The series' final launch, Delta IV Heavy, was used on a total of 16 launch missions. Among them, 12 satellite launches were related to national security by the NRO and the US military. Delta 4 Heavy was launched not only from Florida like this time, but also from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. NROL-91, which was carried out on September 24, 2022, was the last launch from California and became a mission.

In this way, Delta is a famous rocket that has launched American security-related satellites and probes from the early 1960s of space development to the present day. “Since the 1960s, Delta rockets have played a critical role in the evolution of spaceflight,” said Tory Bruno, ULA President and CEO.

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・A Delta IV Heavy rocket successfully completed its final launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base (October 4, 2022)

■Vulcan controls Delta

[▲ أُطلق فولكان من مجمع الإطلاق 41 في محطة كيب كانافيرال لقوة الفضاء في 8 يناير/كانون الثاني 2024 (مصدر الصورة: ULA)][▲ أُطلق فولكان من مجمع الإطلاق 41 في محطة كيب كانافيرال لقوة الفضاء في 8 يناير/كانون الثاني 2024 (مصدر الصورة: ULA)]
[▲ أُطلق فولكان من مجمع الإطلاق 41 في محطة كيب كانافيرال لقوة الفضاء في 8 يناير/كانون الثاني 2024 (مصدر الصورة: ULA)]

According to ULA, the role played by Delta IV Heavy will be assumed by the new “Vulcan” rocket developed by the company. The first Vulcan module was successfully launched on January 8, 2024, carrying the Peregrine lunar lander of the American private space company Astrobotic.

Vulcan's next commercial launch mission, Certification-2, will carry the winged Dream Chaser spacecraft, developed by the private US space company Sierra Space, and is expected to launch in the coming months.

Related articles
・ULA successfully launched the first new rocket “Vulcan” and the second launch is scheduled to take place a few months later (January 11, 2024)

source

  • Al-Ula Marking the end of an era, United Launch Alliance successfully launched the final Delta IV Heavy rocket
  • Al-Ula -Nrol-70
  • Al-Ula – Delta IV
  • Al-Ula – Delta IV Heavy
  • nro – Launching NEOL-70 on the Final Delta IV heavy rocket
  • Space news – End of an era: Delta 4 Heavy rises one last time

Text / Hayashi Deguchi Editing / sorae editorial department