Encyclopedia Astronautica
Delta A



dela6251.jpg
Delta A no. 13
Delta A no. 13 - COSPAR 1962 Beta Gamma
American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x AJ10-118 + 1 x Altair

LEO Payload: 250 kg (550 lb). Payload: 68 kg (149 lb) to a GTO in 1985 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 9.590 million.

Stage Data - Delta A

  • Stage 1. 1 x Thor DM-21. Gross Mass: 48,354 kg (106,602 lb). Empty Mass: 2,948 kg (6,499 lb). Thrust (vac): 760.643 kN (170,999 lbf). Isp: 285 sec. Burn time: 164 sec. Isp(sl): 250 sec. Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Span: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Length: 18.41 m (60.40 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: MB-3-1. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Delta A. Gross Mass: 2,164 kg (4,770 lb). Empty Mass: 694 kg (1,530 lb). Thrust (vac): 33.803 kN (7,599 lbf). Isp: 271 sec. Burn time: 115 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 0.84 m (2.75 ft). Span: 0.84 m (2.75 ft). Length: 5.36 m (17.58 ft). Propellants: Nitric acid/UDMH. No Engines: 1. Engine: AJ10-118. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Altair 1. Gross Mass: 238 kg (524 lb). Empty Mass: 30 kg (66 lb). Thrust (vac): 12.450 kN (2,799 lbf). Isp: 256 sec. Burn time: 38 sec. Isp(sl): 233 sec. Diameter: 0.46 m (1.50 ft). Span: 0.46 m (1.50 ft). Length: 1.83 m (6.00 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: X-248. Status: Out of Production.

AKA: Thor Delta A.
Status: Retired 1962.
Gross mass: 50,756 kg (111,897 lb).
Payload: 250 kg (550 lb).
Height: 31.00 m (101.00 ft).
Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft).
Thrust: 667.20 kN (149,993 lbf).
Apogee: 100,000 km (60,000 mi).
First Launch: 1962.10.02.
Last Launch: 1962.10.27.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • EPE American solar satellite. 4 launches, 1961.08.16 (Explorer 12) to 1964.12.21 (Explorer 26). Radiation and solar wind data. More...

Associated Engines
  • AJ10-118 Aerojet Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. 33.8 kN. Out of Production. Isp=271s. Engine originally developed for the Vanguard launch vehicle, and then for use on the Able and Delta upper stages and as the Apollo Service module engine. Flown 1957-1962. More...
  • MB-3-1 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 760.6 kN. Out of production. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Isp=285s. Boosted Delta A, B, C, Thor Able-Star. First flight 1960. More...
  • X-248 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 12.4 kN. Isp=256s. Used on Atlas Able, Blue Scout 2, Caleb, Delta, Delta A, Delta B, Delta C. First flight 1959. 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...

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

Associated Programs
  • Explorer Series of satellites launched by Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the exploration of the space environment (micrometeoroids, charged particles, radiation, etc) from both earth orbital and heliocentric orbital locations. 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 LC17B Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Upgraded over the decades for use with Thor, Delta, Delta II, and Delta III launch vehicles, it remained in use for over half a century. More...

Associated Stages
  • Altair 1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 238/30 kg. Thrust 12.45 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 256 seconds. More...
  • Delta A Nitric acid/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 2,164/694 kg. Thrust 33.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 271 seconds. Able was only the first of many engine and application programs that flowed from the Vanguard experience base. These included Able, Ablestar, Delta, Fat Delta, the Japanese N II, and applications or offshoots such as Hydra, Saint (Satellite Intercept), and other classified programs. More...
  • Thor DM-21 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 48,354/2,948 kg. Thrust 760.64 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 285 seconds. More...

Delta A Chronology


1959 April 28 - . LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta A.
  • Delta launch vehicle contract. - . Nation: USA. Summary: NASA announced the signing of a $24 million contract with Douglas Aircraft Co., Inc., for a three-stage Thor-Vanguard launching rocket called Delta..

1962 October 2 - . 22:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta A. LV Configuration: Thor Delta A 345/D13.
  • Explorer 14 - . Payload: EPE B (S-3A). Mass: 40 kg (88 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: EPE. Decay Date: 1964-12-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 432 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Gamma-1. Apogee: 96,229 km (59,793 mi). Perigee: 2,558 km (1,589 mi). Inclination: 42.3000 deg. Period: 2,184.60 min. Summary: Magnetosphere studies. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1962 October 27 - . 23:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta A. LV Configuration: Thor Delta A 346/D14.
  • Explorer 15 - . Payload: EPE C (S-3C SERB). Mass: 45 kg (99 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: EPE. Decay Date: 1978-12-19 . USAF Sat Cat: 445 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Lambda-1. Apogee: 17,610 km (10,940 mi). Perigee: 306 km (190 mi). Inclination: 17.9000 deg. Period: 314.70 min. Summary: Radiation decay data. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

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