Today, United Launch Alliance (ULA) commemorates the 25th anniversary of the proven industry workhorse rocket, the Delta II. The first Delta II mission blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 14, 1989, successfully placing the GPS BII-01 mission into orbit.
"We could not be more pleased to take time today to reflect on the tremendous success of the Delta II program and the nearly 150 missions it successfully delivered to orbit," said Michael Gass, ULA president and CEO. "While we count success one mission at a time, the ULA and prior Boeing heritage team have been able to count on the Delta II's success 97 times in a row over the last decade. This is a tribute to our dedicated ULA employees, our supplier teammates and our customers who ensure mission success is the focus of each and every launch."
ULA's Delta II has launched the majority of NASA's critical science missions over the last decade including the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, Genesis, Phoenix Mars Lander, Stardust, the twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft and most recently the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in October 2011.
In addition to the science missions, Delta II has launched nearly 50 GPS satellites, dozens of other military payloads for the U.S. Air Force, as well as numerous commercial missions.
This year ULA's Delta II will launch two NASA spacecraft, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 mission in July and the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission in November, both from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. NASA once again selected Delta II to launch its Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS) and the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) missions in 2016.
"ULA is in the final stages of manufacturing the Delta II rockets at our factory in Decatur, Ala., for this year's NASA missions," said Gass. "We look forward to working with NASA for these two missions and the future Delta II launch campaigns."
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation's most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 75 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system. Reliable launch, real-world benefits.