January 20, 2018

Previous flights of the Delta 4-Heavy

As a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket prepares to carry NASA’s Orion spaceship on its first orbital flight test, we look back at the seven previous Heavy launches.

Delta 310: Delta 4-Heavy demo flight

The test launch of Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket began with a breath-taking blastoff from Cape Canaveral on December 21, 2004, but lower-than-expected performance due to cavitation during the initial minutes of flight ultimately caused the mission to fall short of its intended orbit. Still, the test was considered a success. Credit: Carleton Bailie/Boeing
The test launch of Boeing’s Delta 4-Heavy rocket began with a breath-taking blastoff from Cape Canaveral on December 21, 2004, but lower-than-expected performance due to cavitation during the initial minutes of flight ultimately caused the mission to fall short of its intended orbit. Still, the test was considered a success. Credit: Carleton Bailie/Boeing

Delta 329: Delta 4-Heavy launches DSP 23

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It is America’s largest unmanned space booster. Its level of complexity causes engineers to liken it to launching three rockets at one time. And its fiery blastoffs create a dazzling yet heart-in-your-throat sight. Now, the mammoth Delta 4-Heavy has entered operational service with the 2007 successful ascent carrying a critical surveillance satellite. Credit: Ben Cooper/Launchphotography.com

Delta 337: Delta 4-Heavy launches NROL-26

America's heavy-lift rocket, the white and orange triple-barreled booster towering 23 stories tall, launched a new intelligence-gathering satellite for the nation Jan. 17, 2009.  Credit: Pat Corkery/ULA
America’s heavy-lift rocket, the white and orange triple-barreled booster towering 23 stories tall, launched a new intelligence-gathering satellite for the nation Jan. 17, 2009.
Credit: Pat Corkery/ULA

Delta 351: Delta 4-Heavy launches NROL-32

Launch of Delta IV NROL-32, Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida
One could not overstate the importance of the Nov. 21, 2010 Delta 4-Heavy launch to national security, a mission by the massive rocket from Cape Canaveral that deployed “the largest satellite in the world” to hear the whispers of evil. Credit: Pat Corkery/ULA

Delta 352: Delta 4-Heavy launches NROL-49

The clandestine cargo carried into polar orbit Jan. 20, 2011 aboard the first California-launched Delta 4-Heavy rocket was a crucial replacement satellite for the nation's surveillance and security network. Credit: Gene Blevins/LA Daily News
The clandestine cargo carried into polar orbit Jan. 20, 2011 aboard the first California-launched Delta 4-Heavy rocket was a crucial replacement satellite for the nation’s surveillance and security network. Credit: Gene Blevins/LA Daily News

Delta 360: Delta 4-Heavy lofts NROL-15

Launch of Delta IV Heavy NROL-15 Cape Canaveral AFS, June 29, 20
The Delta 4-Heavy rocket, sporting more-powerful main engines to improve the performance of America’s biggest booster, on June 29, 2012 launched carrying a super-secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. Credit: Pat Corkery/ULA

Delta 364: Delta 4-Heavy launches NROL-65

Igniting its three main engines in a staggered sequence for the first time, a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket successfully flew into Earth orbit and deployed a U.S. national security satellite on Aug. 28, 2013. Credit: Gene Blevins/LA Daily News
Igniting its three main engines in a staggered sequence for the first time, a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket successfully flew into Earth orbit and deployed a U.S. national security satellite on Aug. 28, 2013. Credit: Gene Blevins/LA Daily News
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