Aerojet Rocketdyne Gears Up for Next ULA Delta IV Heavy Mission
Three RS-68A engines and an RL10B-2 second-stage engine to propel the next ULA Delta IV Heavy mission
- This NRO launch will mark the 38th for the Delta IV family and 10th launch of the Delta IV Heavy
- The RS-68A is the world’s most powerful hydrogen-fueled rocket engine
On Dec. 7, a Delta IV Heavy is slated to launch a classified national security payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) from
The upcoming NRO mission marks the tenth operational launch of the Delta IV Heavy, and the 38th overall for the Delta IV family, which debuted in 2002. The nine previous missions flown in this launch vehicle configuration have all been successful.
“While the Delta IV’s excellent track record might give the appearance that space launch is routine, the truth is that ensuring mission success requires diligence and vigilance on the part of everyone involved,” said
In its Heavy configuration, the Delta IV features three side-by-side common booster cores that comprise the first stage. Each booster is powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A engine. Capable of generating 702,000 pounds of thrust at sea level, the RS-68A is the world’s most powerful hydrogen-fueled engine.
The rocket’s second stage is powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine, which generates 24,750 pounds of thrust at altitude. The RL10 family of liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen-fueled engines has been in operation on various vehicles for more than five decades.
ARDÉ, a subsidiary of
Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc.