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Delta D


DELTA D Fact Sheet
Written and Edited by Cliff Lethbridge

Classification: Space Launch Vehicle

Length: 92 feet, 11 inches

Diameter: 8 feet


Originally called the Thrust Augmented Delta (TAD), the Delta D added a major improvement that has become the trademark of Delta launch vehicles.

The Delta D significantly improved payload capacity by incorporating three Castor solid-propellant rocket boosters to "augment" the thrust of the first stage engine.

This strap-on booster configuration was not unique, as it had already been successfully applied to the U.S. Air Force Thrust Augmented Thor-Agena D space launch vehicle.

Although the Thrust Augmented Thor-Agena D was never launched from Cape Canaveral, it preceded the Delta D by about two years.

The three Castor solid rocket boosters were ignited at liftoff, and provided a total thrust of 156,600 pounds. The boosters were jettisoned during flight. An upgraded Rocketdyne first stage engine produced 175,000 pounds of thrust at launch.

The total vehicle could carry a 1,275-pound payload to low-Earth orbit or a 230-pound payload to geostationary transfer orbit.

This effectively doubled the payload capability of the Delta launch vehicle in a period of just four years.

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