Encyclopedia Astronautica
Delta L


American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor 2 + 1 x LT Thor DSV-2L-1B + 1 x Delta E + 1 x FW4D

LEO Payload: 300 kg (660 lb). Payload: 300 kg (660 lb) to a GTO. Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1969-08-27. Last Fail Date: 1969-08-27 in 1985 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 16.540 million.

Stage Data - Delta L

  • Stage 0. 3 x Castor 2. Gross Mass: 4,424 kg (9,753 lb). Empty Mass: 695 kg (1,532 lb). Thrust (vac): 258.915 kN (58,206 lbf). Isp: 262 sec. Burn time: 37 sec. Isp(sl): 232 sec. Diameter: 0.79 m (2.59 ft). Span: 0.79 m (2.59 ft). Length: 6.04 m (19.81 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: TX-354-3. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 1. 1 x Delta Thor LT. Gross Mass: 70,354 kg (155,104 lb). Empty Mass: 3,715 kg (8,190 lb). Thrust (vac): 866.710 kN (194,844 lbf). Isp: 290 sec. Burn time: 215 sec. Isp(sl): 256 sec. Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Span: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Length: 21.43 m (70.30 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: MB-3-3. Other designations: Long Tank Thor. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Delta E. Gross Mass: 6,009 kg (13,247 lb). Empty Mass: 785 kg (1,730 lb). Thrust (vac): 35.098 kN (7,890 lbf). Isp: 278 sec. Burn time: 400 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 1.40 m (4.50 ft). Span: 1.40 m (4.50 ft). Length: 6.28 m (20.60 ft). Propellants: Nitric acid/UDMH. No Engines: 1. Engine: AJ10-118E. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 3. 1 x FW-4D. Gross Mass: 300 kg (660 lb). Empty Mass: 25 kg (55 lb). Thrust (vac): 24.997 kN (5,620 lbf). Isp: 287 sec. Burn time: 31 sec. Isp(sl): 250 sec. Diameter: 0.50 m (1.64 ft). Span: 0.50 m (1.64 ft). Length: 1.48 m (4.85 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: FW4-D. Status: Out of Production.

AKA: Thor Delta L; Long Tank Thor.
Status: Retired 1972.
Gross mass: 89,935 kg (198,272 lb).
Payload: 300 kg (660 lb).
Height: 35.00 m (114.00 ft).
Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft).
Thrust: 1,452.90 kN (326,625 lbf).
Apogee: 400,000 km (240,000 mi).
First Launch: 1969.08.27.
Last Launch: 1972.01.31.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Pioneer 6-7-8-9-E American solar satellite. 5 launches, 1965.12.16 (Pioneer 6) to 1969.08.27 (Pioneer E). Pioneers 6, 7, 8, and 9 were created to make the first detailed, comprehensive measurements of the solar wind, solar magnetic field and cosmic rays. More...
  • HEOS European earth magnetosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1968.12.05 (HEOS 1) and 1972.01.31 (HEOS 2). Highly Eccentric Orbiting Satellite; examined magnetic fields outside of Earth's magnetosphere. More...
  • TETR American tracking network technology satellite. 2 launches, 1969.08.27 (TETR C) and 1971.09.29 (TETR 3). Test satellite for NASA's Manned Space Flight Network. More...

Associated Engines
  • AJ10-118E Aerojet Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. 35.1 kN. Isp=278s. Used on Delta E, Delta G, Delta J, Delta L, Delta M, Delta N upper stages. First flight 1965. More...
  • FW-4D Thiokol solid rocket engine. 25 kN. Isp=287s. Kick stage motor for Delta E, Delta L. First flight 1965. More...
  • MB-3-3 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 866.7 kN. Out of Production. License built in Japan for H-1. Isp=290s. First flight 1964. More...
  • TX-354-3 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 258.9 kN. Used in Scout A; Delta E; H-1-0; Castor 2. License built in Japan for H-1. Isp=262s. First flight 1960. 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
  • Pioneer The Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pioneer series were the first US probes sent towards the moon. Later Pioneers explored the heliocentric space environment and were the first spacecraft to reach the outer planets and to escape from the solar system. 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...
  • 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 SLC2E 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
  • Castor 2 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 4,424/695 kg. Thrust 258.92 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 262 seconds. More...
  • Delta E Nitric acid/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 6,009/785 kg. Thrust 35.10 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 278 seconds. More...
  • Delta Thor LT Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 70,354/3,715 kg. Thrust 866.71 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 290 seconds. More...
  • FW-4D Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 300/25 kg. Thrust 25.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 287 seconds. More...

Delta L Chronology


1969 August 27 - . 21:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta L. LV Configuration: Thor Delta L 540/D73. FAILURE: First stage hydraulics failure. Vehicle destructed at T+383 seconds. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Pioneer E - . Payload: Pioneer E. Mass: 67 kg (147 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Pioneer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Pioneer 6-7-8-9-E. Decay Date: 1969-08-27 . COSPAR: F690827A.
  • TETR C - . Payload: TETR C. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Pioneer. Spacecraft: TETR. COSPAR: F690827B.

1972 January 31 - . 17:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta L. LV Configuration: Thor Delta L 564/D87.
  • HEOS 2 - . Payload: HEOS A2. Mass: 123 kg (271 lb). Nation: Europe. Agency: ESRO. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: HEOS. Decay Date: 1974-08-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 5814 . COSPAR: 1972-005A. Apogee: 240,164 km (149,230 mi). Perigee: 405 km (251 mi). Inclination: 89.9000 deg. Period: 7,477.10 min. Summary: Highly Eccentric Orbiting Satellite; particles and fields data. Fifth satellite of ESRO. Also registered as US object 1972-05A in A/AC.105/INF.248 with orbit 7835.4 min, 439 x 248160 km x 90.2 deg, category B. .

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