Skip to comments.Delta Heavy Comes To California
Posted on 02/10/2011 10:01:49 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The first Delta IV Heavy liftoff from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., illustrated the dramatic purge of hydrogen that results in flames swirling around the three Pratt & Whiney Rocketdyne RS-68 Common Core Booster engines that comprise the first stage.
The Jan. 20 launch from Space Launch Complex-6 (SLC-6) boosted the classified NROL-49 mission into a highly inclined orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Because it was classified, details on the payload, its orbit and the results of the liftoff were not announced. But United Launch Alliance (UAV) reports, The pad is in great shape and the rocket performed as the customer desired.
The Delta IV Heavy is capable of lifting 50,000 lb. into 225 low Earth orbits.
The 132-acre SLC-6 site has a storied history as an almost important pad whose previous, unrealized, assignments include the U.S. Air Forces Manned Orbiting Laboratory in the 1960s and being designated the West Coast site for polar-orbiting space shuttle missions. The pad reportedly cost $4 billion to develop and was refurbished for nearly $300 million to accommodate the Delta family of evolved expendable launch vehicles.
It has previously accommodated two Delta IV Medium launchers, but this was the first in the Heavy configuration. The Delta IV Heavy is the largest expendable launcher in the U.S. inventory since the retirement of Titan IV. The combined thrust of its three liquid-fueled Common Core Boosters (CCBs) is nearly 2 million lb.
(Excerpt) Read more at aviationweek.com ...
Is there any way to get alerts to launches at Vandenburg, so I can watch for the trail in Central California?
There is a phone number which is on their website to for public information. Sometimes they are unscheduled launches because of the payload.
Sign up for email alerts, scroll down a little and the subscribe link is on the left...
I was part of the “storied” history. I havn’t seen MOL mentioned for a long time. I was the consultant meteorologist for the SLC 6 initial construction and launch for the Titan IIIM. I ran with the astronauts,some of whom later flew the shuttle. I remember my first ride over what was Sudden Ranch in a small chopper, chasing cows and following the surf.
10 years later I was planning construction at SLC 6 to launch AF shuttle. Both programs got me promoted before they got canned.