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The Mission




Rocket: Delta 4-Heavy
Payload: DemoSat
Date: December 21, 2004
Window: 2:36-5:31 p.m. EST (1936-2231 GMT) Site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral, Florida
Satellite feed: AMC 9, Transponder 18, C-band

Mission preview story

Launch events timeline

Launch hazard area

Mission Status Center



The Launcher




Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy vehicle is the largest, most powerful configuration in the next-generation rocket's family.

Delta 4-Heavy fact sheet

The pre-launch process

Our Delta archive



The Payload




The DemoSat satellite simulator and two university-built nanosats will be launched on the Delta 4-Heavy rocket's test flight.

Learn more



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Delta 4-Heavy mission report

Fixes ordered across Boeing's Delta 4 rocket line
Boeing's Delta 4 rockets are being retrofitted with new pressure valves to alleviate bubbling in liquid oxygen fuel lines that possibly occurred in the fleet's maiden liftoff in 2002 and investigators determined caused engine trouble during the first Heavy booster's December test flight.
   FULL STORY [Posted: April 10]
Delta 4-Heavy investigation identifies rocket's problem
The inaugural Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket suffered premature engine shutdowns during its December test launch because of bubbles in the liquid oxygen plumbing, investigators have concluded, and now corrective measures are being devised to prevent a repeat problem during the next launch in October.
   FULL STORY [Posted: March 16]
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VIDEO: SPACEFLIGHT NOW LAUNCH PAD CAMERA 1 QT
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Experts using computer simulations in Delta 4 probe
While complex computer simulations are being run to understand what interrupted its main engines from finishing their firings, the entire six-hour maiden flight of the Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket was examined in deep detail last week as part of a planned post-mission review.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Jan. 30]
Team hopes to pinpoint Delta 4 problem by mid-Feb.
Engineers probing the trouble experienced on the Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket's test flight have cleared 40 potential causes of the main engines cutting off prematurely, leaving 9 scenarios on the table, including the leading theory that bubbles formed in the liquid oxygen plumbing.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Jan. 23]
Bubbles in Delta 4-Heavy's plumbing possible culprit
Investigators are theorizing that the flow of super-cold liquid oxygen in the three core boosters of Boeing's first Delta 4-Heavy rocket could have been disturbed, creating "bubbles" that tricked internal sensors into thinking the motors were out of fuel and causing them to command a premature engine shutdown, the Air Force said Friday.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Jan. 14]
Delta 4-Heavy's engines snuffed out by sensor glitch
Errant readings from sensors inside the inaugural Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket triggered the premature shutdown of its three main engines during ascent last month, causing a massive underspeed that the vehicle's upper stage could not overcome and resulting in a final orbit lower than planned, the U.S. Air Force said Friday. A team investigating results of the test launch are confident the problem can be resolved.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Jan. 7]
VAB
Air Force says plenty of good came of Heavy test
While stressing the positives of what was achieved during Tuesday's demonstration flight of the Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket and the mountain of data generated about the big booster's actions, Air Force officials on Wednesday acknowledged an "anomaly" occurred during the first stage and two university-built nanosats were lost after not reaching space.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Dec. 22]
Tracking shows rocket's final orbit well off the mark
The DemoSat satellite simulator launched aboard the Delta 4-Heavy rocket Tuesday was delivered into an orbit 10,000 miles short of the intended altitude, according to tracking data. The payload failed to reach the proper orbit because the upper stage ran out of fuel after compensating for low performance from the first stage.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Delta 4-Heavy rocket hits snag on test flight
The test launch of Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket began with a breath-taking blastoff from Cape Canaveral Tuesday afternoon but lower-than-expected performance during the initial minutes of flight ultimately caused the mission to fall short of its intended orbit.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Dec. 22]
   PHOTO GALLERY: FIRST LAUNCH VIEWS
   PHOTO GALLERY: ROCKET FLIES DOWNRANGE
   PHOTO GALLERY: CAMERAS AT LAUNCH PAD
   PHOTO GALLERY: MORE STUNNING PICTURES
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VIDEO: FROM LIFTOFF TO BOOSTER SEPARATION QT
VIDEO: THE DELTA 4-HEAVY LAUNCH (SHORT VERSION) QT
VIDEO: ONBOARD CAMERA RECORDS LAUNCH QT
VIDEO: ONBOARD CAMERA SEES BOOSTER SEPARATION QT
VIDEO: ONBOARD CAMERA CAPTURES FAIRING JETTISON QT
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Delta 4-Heavy rocket poised for debut Tuesday
America's new heavy-lifting rocket takes its much-anticipated test flight Tuesday. Boeing's inaugural Delta 4-Heavy rocket is scheduled to make its thunderous departure from Cape Canaveral's pad 37B at 2:36 p.m. EST (1936 GMT) while riding 1.9-million pounds of fiery thrust generated by its three hydrogen-fueled engines. Follow the countdown in our live status center:
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
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AUDIO: LISTEN TO THE 68-MINUTE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE QT
VIDEO: ANIMATION PROVIDES PREVIEW OF A DELTA 4-HEAVY LAUNCH QT
VIDEO: RE-LIVE THE INAUGURAL DELTA 4 LAUNCH FROM 2002 QT
VIDEO: ON-PAD FLIGHT READINESS ENGINE FIRING TEST QT
VIDEO: TAKE TOUR OF LAUNCH PAD 37B QT
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Technical trouble scrubbed Saturday's launch try
The maiden flight of the Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket was scrubbed Saturday because of trouble with the master sequencer that controls the crucial final seconds of the countdown.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Dec. 11]
   PHOTO GALLERY: SERVICE TOWER ROLLBACK
   PHOTO GALLERY: PHOTOGRAPHERS AT THE PAD
Delta 4-Heavy's demo flight critical to military missions
America's new heavy-lifting rocket takes its much-anticipated test flight Saturday, if Mother Nature cooperates. The Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket was supposed to launch Friday, but the forecast for strong winds and stormy weather at Cape Canaveral postponed the liftoff by 24 hours.
   FULL STORY
   THURSDAY'S SCRUB STORY
Countdown gets underway many hours before blastoff
Workers pulling night-owl duty will begin countdown activities in the predawn hours Saturday, prepping the debut Delta 4-Heavy rocket, its Cape launch site and ground systems for fueling and liftoff.
   FULL STORY
   DELTA 4-HEAVY ROCKET FACT SHEET
   DEMOSAT AND NANOSAT PAYLOAD INFO
The Heavy: Triple-sized Delta 4 rocket to debut
After years of development and 366 days standing on the launch pad, Boeing's behemoth Delta 4-Heavy rocket flies its maiden mission Friday to showcase its proficiency and character in hauling hefty cargos to space.
   MISSION PREVIEW STORY
Delta 4-Heavy launch date depends on data review
The Boeing Company is beginning an exhaustive review of testing records and data that will determine when the inaugural Delta 4-Heavy rocket will be given clearance for blastoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Oct. 31]
Added complexity of Delta 4-Heavy put to the test
Throughout this year's on-pad testing sequence, officials have focused on three key challenges created by the Delta 4-Heavy and its trio of Common Booster Cores that generate the 1.9 million pounds of thrust to propel the 23-story rocket off the launch pad.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Oct. 31]
Photo gallery: Delta 4-Heavy launch day rehearsal
The mobile service tower is rolled back to expose Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket for the Wet Dress Rehearsal launch day simulation on October 26 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's pad 37B. This picture collection shows the massive rocket just after sunrise.
   ENTER PHOTO GALLERY [Posted: Oct. 31]
New date announced for Delta 4-Heavy debut
The debut launch of Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket has been rescheduled due to Florida's hurricane troubles this summer and three technical issues, company officials announced.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Oct. 10]
Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket is revealed
Boeing's 23-story tall Delta 4-Heavy rocket is fully assembled atop Cape Canaveral's pad 37B. The powerful booster is scheduled for launch this fall on a demonstration flight. This collection of images taken by photographer Carleton Bailie includes aerial views from a helicopter and from various vantage points around the pad.
   ENTER PHOTO GALLERY [Posted: Aug. 26]
Delta 4-Heavy rocket to take maiden flight in Oct.
A new launch date has been selected for the delayed demonstration flight of Boeing's massive Delta 4-Heavy rocket that will carry a satellite simulator and two tiny nanosats.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Aug. 19]
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VIDEO: ANIMATION PROVIDES PREVIEW OF DELTA 4-HEAVY LAUNCH QT
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Delta 4-Heavy exposed
The mobile service tower at Cape Canaveral's pad 37B was rolled away from the newly-erected Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket for a brief time December 11. This provided the first clear view of the 170-foot tall rocket standing fully exposed on the launch pad.
   ENTER PHOTO GALLERY [Posted: Dec. 14]
Delta 4-Heavy goes vertical
The first Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket was erected vertically at pad 37B around 10:30 a.m. December 10, one day after rolling horizontally to the Cape Canaveral complex. See a collection of images documenting the rocket's lift.
   ENTER PHOTO GALLERY [Posted: Dec. 10]
Boeing's big booster journeys to the launch pad
Inching along at barely a walking pace, Boeing's first Delta 4-Heavy rocket was carefully driven from an assembly hangar to its Cape Canaveral launch pad December 9 where it will undergo seven months of tests before blasting off on a qualification flight.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Dec. 9]
   PHOTO GALLERY OF TUESDAY'S ROLLOUT
Heavy-lifting version of Delta 4 to take test flight
In a Cape Canaveral hangar, a rocket of monstrous proportions and power is taking shape. It will be unveiled next month, rolling to the launch pad to prepare for a demonstration flight that will test its knack for lofting hefty cargos into orbit and potentially one day ferrying humans to the space station.
   FULL STORY [Posted: Nov. 19]
   SEE OUR DELTA LAUNCH ARCHIVE
Ares 1-X Patch
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