Delta II rocket was in service for 29 years. Its first flight was in 1989.

Delta II rocket was in service for 29 years. Its first flight was in 1989

Delta II rocket was in service for 29 years. Its first flight was in 1989 and it is operated by Launch Company (ULA). Delta rockets have been built and launched since 1960. Delta’s origins go back to the Thor intermediate-range ballistic missile, which was developed in the mid-50 for the US Air Force. The Thor, a single-stage, liquid-fueled rocket, was modified to become the Delta launch vehicle, which later evolved into the Delta II. Delta IV was developed in partnership with the US Air Force EELV program and is the most advanced family of Delta rockets. Delta IV blends advanced and proven technology to launch virtually any size medium-to-heavy class payload to space.

Launch Company (ULA) is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. ULA was founded in December 2006 by combining the teams at these companies that provided spacecraft launch services to the government of the United States. U.S. government launch customers included the Department of Defense and NASA, as well as other organizations. With ULA, Lockheed and Boeing held a monopoly on military launches for more than a decade, until the US Air Force awarded a GPS satellite contract to SpaceX in 2016.

ULA has 3,400 employees working at sites across the USA. Program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located in Decatur in Alabama and Harlingen in Texas. ULA’s launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

ULA is using three expendable launch systems, Delta II, Delta IV and Atlas V. The Atlas and Delta launch vehicles have been used for more than 50 years and launched approximately 1,300 missions to carry a variety of payloads including weather-, communication- and national security satellites, as well as deep space and interplanetary exploration missions in support of scientific research. ULA also provides launch services for non-government satellites: Lockheed Martin retains the rights to market Atlas commercially.