National Aeronautics and Space Administration

PHONE 982· 4555 .
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., July 1962 ---The queen of the U. S. space pro-
" gram is a three-stage rocket named Deita. In less than two years,
after ten straight successful flights--topped today by Telstar 1--
Delta has pitched over a ton of satellites into orbit and earned for
itself a record of reliability unmatched by any space booster.
Delta's queenly attributes go back to the early Thor-Able rock-
et and the still earlier Vanguard, from which it acquired its upper
stages. Although today's Delta contains vastly different hardware,
experience gained from these early programs--plus good management
and a close-working Goddard Space Flight Center-Douglas Aircraft
Comp,any team--has resulted in what NASA Admin:l,strator, James E. Webb,
recently called, "the greatest record of reliability of any of our
launch vehicles ... "
Delta was intended originally to be an interim booster vehicle.
The initial contract for 12 Deltas was signed with Douglas Aircraft
in April, 1959. Since then, because of its exceptional reliability
and versatility, a total of 31 payloads have been programmed for Delta.
The Delta first stage is a 60-foot modification of the Air Force-
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developed Thor (SM-75) which generates 150,000 pounds of thrust dur-
ing the'two and two-thirds minutes its 50 tons of propellent burn.
The second stage is 17 feet tall and weighs a little more than
two and one-half tons. It is powered by an Aerojet-General liquid
engine, which develops 7,500 pounds of thrust during its slightly
less than two minutes of burning time.
Delta's one-half ton, solid propellent third stage is only
five feet high and uses an Allegany Ballistics Laboratory l\BL 248
engine with a thrust rating of 3,000 pounds. Its burning time is
40 seconds.
Fully assembled on its launch stand at Cape Canaveral, Delta
towers nine stories 57 tons.
Up to T+90 seconds Delta is guided by its Thor auto-pilot, then
the Bell Telephone Laboratories radio guidance system takes over and
makes velocity and steering corrections as needed. Shortly after
second stage ignition, the fairing, covering the third stage and the
satellite payload, is jettisoned.
At about four and one-half minutes after lift-off, second stage
burning terminates. The vehicle, with second and third stages still
attached, is now at an altitude of about 125 miles.
At this point a coast period begins which may vary from 40 sec-
onds up to 20 minutes, depending on the type of orbit desired for a
specific payload. During the coast phase, guidance is provided by
a 42=pound flight control system contained in the second stage, De-
pending on the payload, the third stage is "spin stabilized" by three
to eight small rockets mounted on a spin table the second and
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4. Tiros III, July 12, 1961, the first satellite to discover
a hurricane.'\ll hurricanes during the 1961 season were detected
in advance by Tiros III.
5. Explorer XII (S-3), August 16, 1 9 6 1 , ~ n 83-pound spacecraft
equipped with detection systems for proton and electron measurement
and an optical attitude sensor. Explorer XII investigated solar
wind, interplanetary magnetic fields, and energetic particles i.n
space. Its findings led to the discovery that the outer Van Allen
radiation belt consists largely of protons rather than electrons.
, 6. Tires IV, February S, 1962, carried a new medium-angle lens
(Tegea) to reduce distortion and provide better resolution of the
picture image.
7. Orbiting Solar Observatory (S-16), March 7, 1962, a 440-
pound satellite ,.rhich was the first of a NASA series to observe the
present II-year sun cycle. OSO carried equipment in a top stabil-
ized platform to check-out a solar pointing control system. Experi-
ments for spectrometer studies of the sun's electromagnetic radia-
tions in the ultraviolet and X-ray regions were housed in a spinning,
wheel-like section beneath the stabilized platform.
8. Ariel, the International Satellite (S-51), \pril 26, 1962,
a 132-pound spacecraft to study the ionosphere, jointly developed
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by the U. S. and the United Kingdom in cooperation with COSPAR (Com-
mittee on Space Research of the International Council Unions), Equip-
ment Ariel carried included items to measure electron density, tempera-
ture. the composition of positive ions, radiation in ultra-violet and
X-ray bands and cosmic rays.
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9. Tiros V, June .19, 1962, launched in conjunction with the
start of the 1962 hurricane season.
10. Telstar I (TSX-l), the world!s "first privately-owned
active cornmunicat,ions satellite, developed by the Bell Telephone
Laboratories for the '\merican Telephone and Telegraph Company, in
cooperation with the Goddard Space Flight Center.
Technical direction of the Delta program is charged to the
Goddard Space Flight Center under the overall supervision of Vincent
L. Johnson, Delta Program Manager at NASA's headquarters in Washing-
ton. (On July 1st Johnson was transferred to the Centaur Program.
He was succeeded by T. B. Norris.)
Goddard's Delta staff consists of 30 persons. about ten of
whom are at Greenbelt, Md. The remainder are assigned to the Goddard
Field Projects Branch, Cape Canaveral, Fla" headed by Robert H. Gray.
William R. Schindler, Goddard's Delta Vehicle Manager, has been
with Delta since its inception. Schindler, 34, from Point.
Wisconsin, attributes the success of the program to (1) the close
working relationship that exists between NASA and Douglas, (2) the
high, caliber of the Delta team -- many members of the team at Cape
Canaveral started with the Vanguard program giving them five years
continuous experience mUlti-stage space boosters -- and, (3) the
fact that the program is reassessed on a continuing basis to find
and correct weak spots.
Delta's key role in the U. S. Space Program will continue through
the mid-1960's. In addition to continuing assignments to boost Tiros,
050 and Telstar payloads, new programs now assigned to the queen of
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the space boosters include:
1. The S-6, Atmospheric Structure Satellite, a 375-pound orbiting lab-
oratory designed for basic research in the physics of the atmosphere;
Studies to be conducted by S-6 include measurement of atmospheric
pressures, densities and temperatures; the composition of neutral
particles, and electron and ion temperatures and densities.
2. IMP (Interplanetary Monitoring Probe), a 125-pound payload
to study the radiation environment of cislunar space and develop a
solar flare capability for the .\pollo program; extend man's knowledge
of solar-terrestrial relationships and study the properties of the
interplanetary magnetic field and its relationship with particle
fluxes from the sun.
3. Relay, a spin stabilized, medium-altitude, 168-pound active
communications satellite jointly sponsored by the United States, Great
Britain, France, Germany and Brazil.
4. Syncom, a,stationary 55-pound, narrow band, active repeater
communications satellite with attitude and position controls and a
capability to handle one full dupl€·x radio-telephone channel. Coopera-
ting with NASA in the Syncom program, is the Department of Defense
which will provide ground communications stations.
With 20 more payloads now programmed, it seemS likely there
won't be any darkness on the Delta for some time to come.
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