United Launch Alliance successfully launches final Delta II rocket with NASA’s ICESat-2
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket carrying NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) spacecraft lifted off from Space Launch Complex-2 on Sept. 15 at 6:02 a.m. PDT. This marks the final mission of the Delta II rocket, which first launched on Feb. 14, 1989, and launched 155 times including ICESat-2.
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.
“ULA is proud that the Delta II rocket has been a significant piece of history, launching more than 50 missions for NASA,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “I sincerely thank the entire ULA team, NASA, U.S. Air Force, and all of our partners and suppliers who have worked diligently to launch the final Delta II rocket, as well as the dedication of the teams throughout the past 29 years of the program.”
ICESat-2 will provide scientists with height measurements to create a global portrait of Earth’s third dimension, gathering data that can precisely track changes of terrain including glaciers, sea ice, forests and more. Northrop Grumman built the spacecraft. In addition to ICESat-2, this mission included four CubeSats which launched from dispensers mounted to the Delta II second stage.
This mission launched aboard a Delta II 7420-10 configuration rocket, which included a 10-foot-diameter payload fairing (PLF). The booster for this mission was powered by the RS-27A engine and the second stage was powered by the AJ10-118K engine.
This is ULA’s seventh launch in 2018 and the 130th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
ULA's next launch is the AEHF-4 mission for the U.S. Air Force on an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.