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  Final Delta II launch: 1989-2018, 155 missions

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Author Topic:   Final Delta II launch: 1989-2018, 155 missions
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 40143
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-14-2018 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Final Delta II launch to mark end of first pioneering era of US rockets

It launched rovers to Mars, sent robotic probes to the moon, comets and the asteroids, put astronomical observatories into orbit and deployed the first GPS satellites.

And now, after three decades of service, the Delta II rocket is entering history.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 40143
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-15-2018 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Delta Blue: Last Delta II rocket launches, leaves behind colorful legacy

The final launch of the venerable Delta II rocket has left the world a little less blue.

That is not to say that the rocket's retirement has not been met with a tinge of sadness. To the contrary, representatives from the U.S. Air Force, NASA and United Launch Alliance (ULA), the latter the company responsible for the vehicle, described the final Delta II launch on Saturday (Sep. 15) as "melancholy" and "bittersweet."

No, it was not a matter of sentimentality. Rather, it is one of hue.

denali414
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Posts: 303
From: Raleigh, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 09-15-2018 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Watching NASA TV, the ULA spokesman talked about getting all of the stars (each one represents a flight) on the rocket's logo signed by people who worked on that flight, and then attaching to rocket. I thought that was really a cool idea for the final flight.
Historically, each Delta rocket used to notate the number of launches within the program, beginning in May 1960, with the first Delta I. This practice was brought back for the final Delta II launch of ICESat-2.

The "381" on the rocket signifies that this will be the 381st flight in the Delta family. A star traditionally was placed on the rocket to recognize each mission.

For the final Delta II, stars were sent to team members and partners throughout the nation. This rocket boasts more than 150 stars with over 800 signatures of people who have been part of the Delta II program.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-15-2018 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A tribute to the final launch found in the ablative heat shield placed under the solid boosters on Space Launch Complex-2 (pre-launch photo by NASA's Kim Shiflett):

denali414
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Posts: 303
From: Raleigh, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 09-15-2018 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ha! That was a great idea for the ablative heat shield. By the way, on Tory Bruno's Twitter page is a cool picture of some of the people signing the stars.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-15-2018 03:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
United Launch Alliance video
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket carrying launch NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission lifts off from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on Sept. 15, 2018. ICESat-2 is the 155th and final launch of the Delta II rocket.

From its origin as the launch vehicle for the first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to NASA's Earth observing, science and interplanetary satellites including Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity to vital commercial communication and imaging satellites, the Delta II rocket has truly earned its place in space history.

Fra Mauro
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Posts: 1468
From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 09-15-2018 06:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Forgive the obvious question: Why is it being retired?

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-15-2018 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA launch director Tim Dunn explained it this way:
Delta II, its design started in the 50s and 60s and it got upgrades through the years. The version we fly today was brought online in 1989. And then it had another update about 1995. So as you can see, it is already about 25 to 30 years old, technology-wise.

It is the normal process in the launch industry to retire rockets after they have outgrown the technology of their day so we can advance rockets with new manufacturing techniques, lighter metals — the lighter the rocket is, the more payload you can launch. It is the normal course of events that rockets get retired.

Jim Behling
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Posts: 1313
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 09-17-2018 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Forgive the obvious question: Why is it being retired?
It costs too much.

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