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Scrubbed: End of an Era: Final Delta IV Heavy Rocket Carries NROL-70 on Historic Mission
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Scrubbed: End of an Era: Final Delta IV Heavy Rocket Carries NROL-70 on Historic Mission
by Charles Briggs
Space Coast FL (SPX) Mar 28, 2024

The last mission of the venerable Delta IV Heavy rocket, marked by the launch of the NROL-70 security payload, is scheduled for March 28, 2024, at 1:40 PM EDT from SLC 37, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This event not only signifies the conclusion of the Delta Rocket lineage but also celebrates its rich history of achievements and innovations in space exploration.

The Delta Rocket series, since its inception on May 13, 1960, during Dwight Eisenhower's presidency, has been a cornerstone of American space endeavors. With its first launch coinciding with cultural milestones like Elvis Presley's "Stuck on You" topping the charts and a loaf of bread costing 20 cents, the Delta has since then completed 388 missions. It has evolved from its original configuration of 90 feet in height and a mass of 112,000 lbs to the Delta IV Heavy's impressive stature of 235 feet and a mass of 1.6 million lbs.

Throughout its operational years, the Delta rocket has been instrumental in deploying the first GPS satellites, leading exploratory missions to Mars and Mercury, and launching significant payloads such as the MESSENGER Orbiter to Eros, the Dawn spacecraft to Vesta and Ceres, and the Deep Impact probe.

It has also been pivotal in missions aimed at studying the sun, returning comet dust samples through Stardust and Genesis missions, and deploying the Kepler observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope. Notably, it facilitated the launch of the first Eutelsat commercial satellite and the inaugural Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle for the Air Force.

The forthcoming launch of NROL-70 aboard the last Delta IV Heavy rocket not only commemorates the end of an era but also paves the way for the future with the introduction of the Vulcan rocket. The Vulcan, inheriting the legacy and technological advancements of both the Delta and Atlas fleets, is poised to continue the tradition of innovation and exploration in the space sector.

The Delta IV Heavy's final mission embodies a significant moment in space exploration history, marking the transition from a storied past to a promising future.

Related Links
Delta IV Heavy at ULA
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

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