Encyclopedia Astronautica
Delta 7920-X


Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter fairing

Status: Active.
Gross mass: 220,000 kg (480,000 lb).
Height: 39.00 m (127.00 ft).
Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft).
Thrust: 4,000.00 kN (899,200 lbf).
Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).
First Launch: 1995.11.04.
Last Launch: 2009.10.08.
Number: 9 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Radarsat Canadian earth resources radar satellite. Two launches, 1995.11.04 (Radarsat) and 2007.12.14 (Radarsat). Canada's Radarsat was a radar satellite featuring variable resolution, and different view angles at a number of preset positions. More...
  • SURFSAT-1 American technology satellite. One launch, 1995.11.04, SURFSAT. SURFSAT-1 was a small satellite built by undergraduate college students and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to support experiments by NASA's Deep Space Network. More...
  • XTE American x-ray astronomy satellite. One launch, 1995.12.30. X-ray Timing Explorer; X-ray astronomy. More...
  • MSX American military strategic defense satellite. One launch, 1996.04.24. More...
  • Sunsat South African technology satellite. One launch, 1999.02.23. Sunsat was built by students at Stellenbosch University, South Africa and carried a small imager and a message relay payload. More...
  • Orsted Danish earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1999.02.23. More...
  • ARGOS American ion engine technology satellite. One launch, 1999.02.23. ARGOS was the USAF Space Test Program P91-1 technology satellite by Boeing/Seal Beach. More...
  • Landsat 7 American earth land resources satellite. One launch, 1999.04.15. More...
  • TIMED American solar satellite. One launch, 2001.12.07. TIMED was the first NASA Solar Terrestrial Probe, operated by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab to study the thermosphere, mesosphere and lower ionosphere. More...
  • Jason French earth sea satellite. 2 launches, 2001.12.07 (Jason 1) and 2008.06.20 (Jason 2). Jason was a joint mission between CNES (the French space agency) and NASA/JPL, carrying the same type of sea surface altimeter used on NASA's Topex satellite. More...
  • Aqua American earth sea satellite. One launch, 2002.05.04. Aqua was also designated the EOS-PM Earth Observing System satellite, joining EOS-AM/Terra. The CERES and MODIS instruments aboard Aqua were also carried on the Terra satellite. More...
  • Aura American earth atmosphere satellite. One launch, 2004.07.15. Earth Observing System (EOS) Aura was a NASA mission to study the Earth's ozone, air quality and climate. More...

See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Douglas American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA, USA. More...
  • Douglas American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17A Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Pad 17A supported Thor, Delta, and Delta II launches into the 21st Century. More...

Associated Stages
  • Delta Thor XLT-C Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 101,900/5,900 kg. Thrust 1,054.20 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 302 seconds. More...
  • Delta K N2O4/Aerozine-50 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 6,954/950 kg. Thrust 43.63 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 319 seconds. More...
  • Delta Thor XLT-C Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 101,900/5,900 kg. Thrust 1,054.20 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 302 seconds. More...
  • Delta K N2O4/Aerozine-50 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 6,954/950 kg. Thrust 43.63 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 319 seconds. More...
  • GEM 40 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 13,064/1,361 kg. Thrust 492.93 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 274 seconds. More...
  • GEM 40 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 13,064/1,361 kg. Thrust 492.93 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 274 seconds. More...

Delta 7920-X Chronology


1995 November 4 - . 14:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-10 D229.
  • Radarsat - . Mass: 2,713 kg (5,981 lb). Nation: Canada. Agency: CSA. Class: Earth. Type: Earth resources radar satellite. Spacecraft: Radarsat. USAF Sat Cat: 23710 . COSPAR: 1995-059A. Apogee: 793 km (492 mi). Perigee: 791 km (491 mi). Inclination: 98.6000 deg. Period: 100.70 min. Summary: Earth imaging with synthetic aperture radar..
  • SURFSAT - . Payload: SURFSAT/Delta 229. Mass: 55 kg (121 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: MDAC. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: SURFSAT-1. USAF Sat Cat: 23711 . COSPAR: 1995-059B. Apogee: 1,494 km (928 mi). Perigee: 934 km (580 mi). Inclination: 100.6000 deg. Period: 109.70 min. Summary: Test satellite for NASA's Deep Space Network..

1995 December 30 - . 13:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-10 D230.
  • XTE - . Payload: Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer. Mass: 3,000 kg (6,600 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Astronomy. Type: X-ray astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: XTE. USAF Sat Cat: 23757 . COSPAR: 1995-074A. Apogee: 583 km (362 mi). Perigee: 565 km (351 mi). Inclination: 23.0000 deg. Period: 96.10 min. Summary: X-ray Timing Explorer; X-ray astronomy..

1996 April 24 - . 12:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-10 D235.
  • MSX - . Mass: 2,700 kg (5,900 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: BMDO. Class: Military. Type: Strategic defense satellite. Spacecraft: MSX. USAF Sat Cat: 23851 . COSPAR: 1996-024A. Apogee: 907 km (563 mi). Perigee: 897 km (557 mi). Inclination: 99.4000 deg. Period: 103.10 min. Summary: LEO. Midcourse Space eXperiment; missile detection technology tests; also used for auroral and atmospheric studies .

1999 February 23 - . 10:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-10 D267.
  • ARGOS - . Payload: P91-1. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF SM. Manufacturer: Seal Beach. Class: Technology. Type: Ion engine technology satellite. Spacecraft: ARGOS. USAF Sat Cat: 25634 . COSPAR: 1999-008A. Apogee: 836 km (519 mi). Perigee: 821 km (510 mi). Inclination: 98.9000 deg. Period: 101.50 min. Summary: ARGOS was a USAF Space Test Program P91-1 technology satellite, equipped with an ion engine, ionosphere, x-ray, and dust detectors. Much delayed, it finally was placed into orbit on the eleventh (!) launch attempt..
  • Orsted - . Mass: 62 kg (136 lb). Nation: Denmark. Agency: DMI. Manufacturer: CRI. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: Orsted. USAF Sat Cat: 25635 . COSPAR: 1999-008B. Apogee: 839 km (521 mi). Perigee: 638 km (396 mi). Inclination: 96.5000 deg. Period: 99.60 min. Summary: Denmark's Orsted gravity gradient stabilised satellite was to map the Earth's magnetic field. It was managed and operated by the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen. The satellite's prime contractor was CRI , Copenhagen..
  • Sunsat - . Nation: South Africa. Agency: Boeing. Manufacturer: Stellenbosch. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Sunsat. USAF Sat Cat: 25636 . COSPAR: 1999-008C. Apogee: 852 km (529 mi). Perigee: 641 km (398 mi). Inclination: 96.5000 deg. Period: 99.80 min. Summary: Sunsat was built by students at Stellenbosch University, South Africa and carried a small imager and a message relay payload..

1999 April 15 - . 18:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-10 D268.
  • Landsat 7 - . Mass: 1,969 kg (4,340 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Manufacturer: Valley Forge. Program: Landsat. Class: Earth. Type: Earth resources satellite. Spacecraft: Landsat 7. USAF Sat Cat: 25682 . COSPAR: 1999-020A. Apogee: 703 km (436 mi). Perigee: 702 km (436 mi). Inclination: 98.2000 deg. Period: 98.80 min. The vehicle entered a 175 km x 706 km x 98.2 deg initial orbit. 57 minutes after launch the Delta stage burned again to circularize the orbit at 668 km x 698 km and Landsat 7 separated from the stage. The Delta stage then burned to depletion of its propellant, into a 184 km x 710 km x 107.5 deg orbit that would decay quickly. The Landsat 7 remote sensing satellite was to be operated by NASA/Goddard until October 2000, when operations would be transferred to the US Geological Survey.

2001 December 7 - . 15:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-10 D289.
  • Jason 1 - . Payload: TPFO. Mass: 485 kg (1,069 lb). Nation: France. Agency: CNES; NASA. Manufacturer: Cannes. Class: Earth. Type: Ionosphere satellite. Spacecraft: Jason. USAF Sat Cat: 26997 . COSPAR: 2001-055A. Apogee: 1,344 km (835 mi). Perigee: 1,332 km (827 mi). Inclination: 66.1000 deg. Period: 112.40 min. Oceanography satellite, launch delayed from August 10 and September 15. Jason 1 was a joint mission between CNES (the French space agency) and NASA/JPL, following on the Topex satellite which carried the Poseidon sea surface altimeter. Jason carried Poseidon 2, as well as orbital tracking experiments and a microwave radiometer which measured the amount of water vapor, allowing path delay errors to be calibrated. The satellite used the Alcatel Proteus bus and had a dry mass of 472 kg plus 28 kg of hydrazine propellant. The JASON/TIMED mission's Boeing Delta 7920-10C second stage reached an initial orbit of 215 x 1343 km x 66.2 deg at 1517 GMT. A second burn at 1559 GMT circularized at apogee to 1320 x 1330 km x 66.0 deg, and the Jason 1 satellite was ejected at 1602 GMT.
  • TIMED - . Mass: 485 kg (1,069 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: CNES; NASA. Manufacturer: Cannes. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: TIMED. USAF Sat Cat: 26998 . COSPAR: 2001-055B. Apogee: 624 km (387 mi). Perigee: 623 km (387 mi). Inclination: 74.1000 deg. Period: 97.20 min. TIMED was the first NASA Solar Terrestrial Probe, operated by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab to study the thermosphere, mesosphere and lower ionosphere. TIMED was built in-house at APL and had a mass of 587 kg; the project was managed at NASA-Goddard. It measured solar and auroral energy input, atmospheric cooling rates, and atmospheric composition, temperature and wind profiles.

    Five minutes after deploying the JASON satellite, the DPAF adapter atop the Delta upper stage separated to reveal the TIMED satellite inside it. Burn 3 at 1614 GMT put Delta/TIMED in a descending 636 x 1330 km x 71.3 deg orbit; at perigee at 1706 GMT a fourth burn circularized the orbit at 627 x 640 km x 74.1 deg and TIMED was ejected six minutes later. A final depletion burn left the Delta stage in a low perigee orbit.


2009 September 25 - . 12:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. Launch Pad: SLC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-X s/n D344.
  • USA 209 - . Payload: STSS 2. Mass: 1,122 kg (2,473 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Class: Military. Type: Anti-satellite system target. Spacecraft: STSS. USAF Sat Cat: 35937 . COSPAR: 2009-052A. Summary: Space Tracking and Surveillance System for missile launch and flight monitoring using infrared sensors..
  • USA 208 - . Payload: STSS 1. Mass: 1,122 kg (2,473 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Class: Military. Type: Anti-satellite system target. Spacecraft: STSS. USAF Sat Cat: 35937 . COSPAR: 2009-052A. Summary: Space Tracking and Surveillance System for missile launch and flight monitoring using infrared sensors..

2009 October 8 - . 18:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-X s/n D345.
  • WorldView-2 - . Mass: 2,615 kg (5,765 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Class: Surveillance. Type: Surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: WorldView. USAF Sat Cat: 35946 . COSPAR: 2009-055A. Apogee: 769 km (477 mi). Perigee: 766 km (475 mi). Inclination: 98.5000 deg. Period: 100.20 min. Summary: Commercial 0.5-meter-resolution, 8-band imaging satellite..

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