Latest News

Delta IV Heavy Launches NROL-70 in Last Mission Before Switch to Vulcan Rocket

By Abbey Weltman | April 10, 2024

      The final ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket, carrying the NROL-70 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, lifts off from Space Launch Complex-37

      United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket launched the NROL-70 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) for the final launch of the Delta IV Heavy rocket. It  launched April 9 at 12:53 p.m from the Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

      The NRO develops reconnaissance systems to collect intelligence for U.S. national security and to support disaster relief. The NROL-70 mission aims to provide intelligence information to national decision-makers, warfighters, and intelligence analysts for national security and to support humanitarian efforts.The NRO did not disclose the nature or capabilities of the payload.

      “The Delta IV Heavy rocket was a workhorse for the NRO, launching 12 missions delivering critical national security payloads. The NROL-70 mission marked our 35th successful launch with the NRO and we look forward to continuing our partnership launching future national security space missions.” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs.

      First launched in 2004, the ULA Delta IV Heavy is a heavy-lift launch vehicle. The Delta IV Heavy rocket comprises a booster core, a cryogenic upper stage, and a five-meter-diameter payload fairing. 

      After the completion of this mission, ULA is transitioning to the new Vulcan rocket, which launched for the first time in January. This also is the conclusion of the Delta family of rockets that have been in service for 63 years, with 389 launches in total.

      “While we near the final liftoff, the Delta legacy will live on through Vulcan,” said Wentz.