The initial buildup of United Launch Alliance’s medium lift single stick Delta 4 rocket has been completed. The ground crews have finished preparing for its liftoff on 25 July with a GPS navigation satellite from Cape Canaveral. Though ULA (United Launch Alliance) will soon retire its Delta4- Medium rocket after the launch next month it will continue using the Delta-4 Heavy rocket till 2024 to place essential and secret payloads for National Reconnaissance Office that owns spy satellite fleet for the US government.
The Delta 4-Heavy rocket uses three first stages that are connected together to lift heavy payloads into space or launching spacecraft that require high speed trajectories. The Delta-4 medium uses one first stage and matches capabilities offered by its other less costly Atlas 5 rocket. The first and second stages of the Delta 4 which are already fixed together came out on a 36 wheel transporter from ULA’s Horizontal Integration facility on 28 May.
It was being transported to Cape Canaveral’s Complex 37 launch pad where a hydraulic lift moved the rocket vertically into the launch pad’s mobile gantry on 29th May. After this the workers put up one solid fueled booster each on either side of the orange colored first stage rocket on 31 May and 3 June. The first and second stages of Delta 4 powered by Aerojet Rocketdyne engines and fueled by hydrogen were connected to each other inside the ULA hangar before rollout of last week. Final launch of Delta-4 Medium will deliver second generation of USAF’s GPS satellites into elliptical transfer orbit move 20,000 kilometers from earth. The satellite named Magellan was built by Lockheed Martin and arrived at Florida for preparation of final launch. It will be added to Delta4 rocket close to the launch and will be wrapped within launcher’s nose cone.