Encyclopedia Astronautica
Delta IV Heavy



delta4h.jpg
Delta IV Heavy
Credit: Boeing
American orbital launch vehicle. Heavy lift all-cryogenic launch vehicle using two Delta-4 core vehicles as first stage flanking a single core vehicle as second stage. A heavy upper stage is carried with a 5 m diameter payload fairing.

LEO Payload: 25,800 kg (56,800 lb) to a 185 km orbit at 28.50 degrees. Payload: 10,843 kg (23,904 lb) to a GTO, 27 deg. Development Cost $: 500.000 million. Launch Price $: 254.000 million in 2004 dollars in 2002 dollars.

Stage Data - Delta IV Heavy

  • Stage 0. 2 x Delta RS-68. Gross Mass: 226,400 kg (499,100 lb). Empty Mass: 26,760 kg (58,990 lb). Thrust (vac): 3,312.755 kN (744,737 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 249 sec. Isp(sl): 365 sec. Diameter: 5.10 m (16.70 ft). Span: 5.10 m (16.70 ft). Length: 40.80 m (133.80 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: RS-68. Status: In production. Comments: Low cost expendable stage using lower performance engine. Used in Delta 4, Boeing EELV. Engine can be throttled to 60%.
  • Stage 1. 1 x Delta RS-68. Gross Mass: 226,400 kg (499,100 lb). Empty Mass: 26,760 kg (58,990 lb). Thrust (vac): 3,312.755 kN (744,737 lbf). Isp: 420 sec. Burn time: 249 sec. Isp(sl): 365 sec. Diameter: 5.10 m (16.70 ft). Span: 5.10 m (16.70 ft). Length: 40.80 m (133.80 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: RS-68. Status: In production. Comments: Low cost expendable stage using lower performance engine. Used in Delta 4, Boeing EELV. Engine can be throttled to 60%.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Delta 4H - 2. Gross Mass: 30,710 kg (67,700 lb). Empty Mass: 3,490 kg (7,690 lb). Thrust (vac): 110.050 kN (24,740 lbf). Isp: 462 sec. Burn time: 1,125 sec. Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Span: 5.00 m (16.40 ft). Length: 12.00 m (39.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: RL-10B-2. Status: In production. Comments: Delta 4 second stage with hydrogen tank increased to 5.1 m diameter.

AKA: Delta 4H.
Status: Active.
Gross mass: 733,400 kg (1,616,800 lb).
Payload: 25,800 kg (56,800 lb).
Height: 70.70 m (231.90 ft).
Diameter: 5.00 m (16.40 ft).
Span: 15.00 m (49.00 ft).
Thrust: 8,670.00 kN (1,949,090 lbf).
Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).
First Launch: 2004.12.21.
Last Launch: 2011.01.20.
Number: 5 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • DSP American military early warning satellite. 23 launches, 1970.11.06 (IMEWS 1) to 2007.11.11 (USA 176). An evolving series of satellites built by the United States to detect intercontinental ballistic missiles on launch. More...
  • Advanced Orion American military naval signals intelligence and reconnaisance satellite. Highly classified, operational, first launch 1995.05.14. More...
  • 3CSat American technology satellite. 2 launched, 2004.12.21. The Three-Corner Sat mission was to obtain stereo images of clouds and test artificial intelligence software. More...

Associated Engines
  • RL-10B-2 Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 110 kN. In production. Isp=462s. Used on Delta 3 , Delta IV launch vehicles. First flight 1998. Extendable exit cone for increased specific impulse; electromechanical actuators replace hydraulic systems. More...
  • RS-68 Rocketdyne lox/lh2 rocket engine. 3312 kN. In production. Isp=420s. First new large liquid-fueled rocket engine developed in America in more than 25 years. Powered the Delta IV booster. First flight 2002. More...

See also
  • Delta IV The Delta IV was the world's first all-Lox/LH2 launch vehicle and represented the only all-new-technology launch vehicle developed in the United States since the 1970's. It was the winner of the bulk of the USAF EELV orders and was based on the all-new RS-68-powered Lox/LH2 cryogenic Common Booster Core (CBC). This could be used with new Delta cryogenic upper stages powered by the RL10 engine but unrelated to previous Centaur upper stages. More...

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

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 LC37B Saturn I, Delta IV launch complex. Complexes 34 and 37 were designed to support NASA's Saturn I and Saturn IB program. Complex 37 was built in 1962, and it was occupied by NASA in January 1963. Complex 37 supported eight Saturn I and Saturn IB missions, including the first flight of an unmanned Apollo lunar module, between 29 January 1964 and 23 January 1968. Complexes 34 and 37 were mothballed in November 1971, and their service structures were scrapped in April 1972. NASA retained control of both complexes, and both sites became NASA tour stops. More...

Associated Stages
  • Delta RS-68 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 226,400/26,760 kg. Thrust 3,312.76 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 420 seconds. Low cost expendable stage using lower performance engine. Used in Delta 4, Boeing EELV. Engine can be throttled to 60%. More...
  • Delta 4H - 2 Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 30,710/3,490 kg. Thrust 110.05 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 462 seconds. Delta 4 second stage with hydrogen tank increased to 5.1 m diameter. More...

Delta IV Heavy Chronology


2004 December 21 - . 21:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. Launch Pad: SLC37B. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy. LV Configuration: Delta 4H D4-4 (310) 4050H.
  • USA 181 - . Payload: Demosat / HLVOLSDP. Mass: 5,993 kg (13,212 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. USAF Sat Cat: 28500 . COSPAR: 2004-050A. Apogee: 36,413 km (22,625 mi). Perigee: 19,035 km (11,827 mi). Inclination: 13.4790 deg. Period: 1,044.23 min. Mass model payload. First launch of a heavy EELV. The demonstration satellite was supposed to have been inserted into a sub-geosynchronous 36,350 km circular orbit but was instead deployed in a 19,035 km x 36,413 km orbit following a 5-hour and 50-minute flight. A shorter than expected first burn of the Centaur upper stage led to an orbit well below that planned. The Air Force EELV program office claimed that the primary flight objectives were accomplished. These included the heavy boost phase, flight of the new five-meter diameter Centaur upper stage and five-meter payload fairing, extended coast, upper stage third burn and payload separation, and activation and usage of Space Launch Complex 37B. Delayed from September 2003, July 3, September 10, November 18, December 10, 11 and 12.
  • 3CSat 1 Sparkie - . Payload: Nanosat 2. Mass: 15 kg (33 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Manufacturer: New Mexico. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: 3CSat. COSPAR: 2004-050x. One of a pair of student-built nanosats for stero cloud imagery. The satellites did not contact the ground after separation from the booster in a lower-than-planned orbit and their fate was unclear. It was believed that they separated but re-entered rapidly from the 105 km perigee orbit.
  • 3CSat 2 Ralphie - . Payload: Nanosat 2. Mass: 15 kg (33 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Manufacturer: Colorado. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: 3CSat. COSPAR: 2004-050x.

2007 November 11 - . 01:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. Launch Pad: SLC37B. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy. LV Configuration: Delta 4H D4-8 (329) 4050H.
  • USA 197 - . Payload: DSP-1 Block 18 F23. Mass: 2,270 kg (5,000 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NSA. Manufacturer: TRW. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: DSP. USAF Sat Cat: 32287 . COSPAR: 2007-054A. Apogee: 36,325 km (22,571 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.00 min. Final DSP launch. The series was to be replaced by SBIRS, which was in the middle of a troubled development program. The Delta 4H performed well after problems on its first launch. The RL10-powered upper stage made three burns before releasing the early-warning satellite in its final geosynchronous orbit. Total cost of the flight was $700 million, with the DSP worth $400 million. The DSP carried a special 25 kg supplementary payload designed to detect extremely small nuclear tests in space. The payload was required by a secret White House/National Security Council directive to detect any attempted covert nuclear tests by Iran or North Korea.

2009 January 18 - . 02:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. Launch Pad: SLC37B. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy.
  • USA 202 - . Payload: NROL-26. Nation: USA. Agency: NRO. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Advanced Orion. USAF Sat Cat: 33490 . COSPAR: 2009-001A. Apogee: 38,077 km (23,659 mi). Perigee: 35,943 km (22,333 mi). Inclination: 3.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min. Summary: Classified signals intelligence satellite. It was speculated that it was a large-antenna spacecraft with the same mission as earlier Rhyolite, Aquacade, Magnum, and Orion missions..

2010 November 21 - . 22:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. Launch Pad: SLC37B. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy.
  • USA 223 - . Payload: NROL-32. Nation: USA. Class: Military. Type: Electronic intelligence satellite. Spacecraft: Advanced Orion. USAF Sat Cat: 37232 . COSPAR: 2010-063A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.00 min. Summary: Probable geosynchronous signals intelligence satellite..

2011 January 20 - . 21:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC6. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Heavy.
  • USA 224 - . Payload: NROL-49. Nation: USA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Improved Crystal. USAF Sat Cat: 37348 . COSPAR: 2011-002A. Summary: National Reconnaissance Office satellite placed into 252 km x 1023 km x 97.9 deg polar orbit, consistent with reports that it is was an Improved CRYSTAL type (KH-11 derivative) imaging reconnaissance satellite..

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