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History of the Delta Launch Vehicle

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Archive for March, 1999

23-Mar-99 | Web site news

My web provider has moved to new facilities with more reliability and vastly improved bandwidth (though in the process they reverted all files to a version over two weeks out-of-date). History of the Delta Launch Vehicle should now be easier to reach and faster to download. Thanks to those users of my mirror site who informed me of difficulties connecting to

02-Mar-99 | SIRTF and Radarsat updates

Two flights tentatively scheduled for 2001 may be going through some changes. SIRTF, a NASA infrared telescope, is now listed in the Boeing Launch Manifest as flying on a Delta III, making it the first NASA payload to use the new vehicle. Until now NASA has been using the designation 7920-H in SIRTF press releases, implying the use of higher-powered booster motors on a Delta II.

Also, the Canadian Space Agency’s Radarsat II might not fly on a Delta, and might not be launched from the United States at all. It turns out that the radar mapper’s ground resolution of 3 metres exceeds the clarity allowed by the U.S. government for non-military satellites by 2 metres. Unless Radarsat’s vision can be blurred somewhat, the CSA will likely have to find another launch provider.

02-Mar-99 | Next launch

The next Delta II launch will be Landsat-7, to fly from Vandenberg in April. Landsat, frequently referred to as “the central pillar of the national remote sensing capability,” has been continuously providing Earth images in visible and infrared wavelengths since 1972. All of the program’s spacecraft, except for the failed launch of Landsat 6 on a Titan II, were successfully orbited by Delta rockets. The newest Landsat, now in final prep at Vandenberg, will take the reins from Landsat 5 — which was still providing pictures as of yesterday, the 15th anniversary of its launch.

02-Mar-99 | Delta III stacking

Now stacking at Cape Canaveral’s SLC-17B is the return to flight of the Delta III. The first stage is mounted and all 9 solid boosters have been installed. The second stage will be hoisted into place later this week. Operations seem to be going smoothly, considering that the launch date recently moved up by almost a month. The second Delta III will carry the Orion F-3 comsat to geosynchronous orbit. Boeing is providing some nice photos at their Delta III site.



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