The Cool Looking Delta IV Heavy Lift Rocket
Former Heavy Lift Champion!
The Delta IV Heavy is a United Launch Alliance (ULA) super-heavy lift rocket that is capable of putting 23.4 tonnes in low Earth orbit (LEO) utilizing three core boosters strapped together to make up its first stage. With 2,100,000 lbf of thrust at liftoff, the Delta Heavy was the most powerful operational rocket in use between 2007 and 2018 with an estimated launch cost of USD $400 million!
Top 10 Interesting Facts About The Delta IV Heavy!
- The Delta IV Heavy evolved from the expendable Delta IV family of smaller rockets that typically utilize only one core booster in its first stage.
- Delta IV Heavy stands 72 m (236 ft) high, 15 m (49 ft) wide, a breath of 5 m (16 ft) and weighs 733 tonnes (1,616,000 lbs) when fueled for launch.
- The rocket can launch from two launch sites (either Cape Canaveral in Florida or Vandenberg Air Force Base in California) depending on the desired orbit for its payload.
- The first stage thrust of the three Delta IV core boosters produces a thrust of 2,100,000 lbf which makes the Delta IV Heavy the second most powerful operational rocket currently being flown, but only half as big as SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy!
- The three first stage core boosters each utilize the worlds largest liquid fuel rocket engine – the RS-68A! These engines burn liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to produce only environmentally friendly steam! The orange colour of the boosters come from the insulation that helps keep the liquid fuel super cold and the tank pressures controllable!
- The rockets second stage is powered by a single RL 10B-2 engine which also burns liquid hydrogen/oxygen.
- The maximum payload to LEO for the Delta IV Heavy is 28.37 tonnes (62,500 lbs) which are enclosed inside the huge 5 m (16 ft) x 19 m (63 ft) cargo fairing.
- In 2014 the Delta IV Heavy launched NASA’s uncrewed Orion crew capsule for a test flight that sent it high elliptical orbit above the Earth.
- The Delta IV launches about once a year and places payloads into orbit for NASA, commercial clients as well as high-priority launches for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and spy satellites for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
- The Delta IV Heavy has launched 10 times by mid-2018 with an estimated launch price, per launch, of an astronomical USD $400 million!