By Cliff Lethbridge

Delta E Launch, Photo Courtesy NASA

Delta E Launch, Photo Courtesy NASA

Classification: Space Launch Vehicle

Length: 95 feet, 10 inches

Diameter: 8 feet

Date of First Cape Canaveral Launch: November 6, 1965

Date of Final Cape Canaveral Launch: December 5, 1968

Number of Cape Canaveral Launches: 13

Originally called the Thrust Augmented Improved Delta (TAID), the Delta E featured significant modifications to the previous Delta vehicles to meet specific NASA requirements. The first stage and three Castor solid rocket boosters operated in an identical fashion to the Delta D. The second and third stages, however, were redesigned. The second stage employed an upgraded Aerojet-General engine which produced a thrust of 7,800 pounds for a potential burn time in excess of six minutes. This second stage engine could be re-started in space if necessary. A completely new United Aircraft solid-propellant third stage motor was introduced and could produce a thrust of 6,000 pounds while reducing the total third stage burn time to 32 seconds. The total vehicle could carry a 1,600-pound payload to low-Earth orbit or a 330-pound payload to geostationary transfer orbit.