Delta IV Heavy
The Delta IV Heavy can put 13 metric tons into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) and 23 tons into a low-Earth orbit, a capability not far short of the Space Shuttle. Indeed Boeing had proposed that an upgraded version of the vehicle be used as a manned launcher when the Shuttle was retired.
The Delta IV Heavy carries only military, not commercial, payloads. Its first launch – a test flight – took place on December 21, 2004. This was followed on November 10, 2007, by second launch which placed a 2.3-ton Defense Support Program (DSP) in GTO. On Jan. 21, 2011, a Delta IV Heavy became the largest rocket ever to the launch from the US West Coast (Vandenberg Air Force Base) carrying an National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payload. Flying the Delta from the West Coast allows the largest reconnaissance satellites to be put into polar orbits.
Related category ROCKETS, MISSILES, AND LAUNCH VEHICLES
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