Delta II Returns To Flight Tuesday!

Delta II never really left flight; it just hasn’t had an opportunity to fly since the NPP-Suomi launch in 2011.  It’s a venerable workhorse of a launch vehicle, in service since 1989, and Boeing has enough parts to build five more of them.  Tuesday’s customer is NASA, launching the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2), replacement for the OCO satellite lost aboard a Taurus launch in 2009 when the payload fairing failed to separate properly, resulting in excessive mass of the vehicle and a consequent failure to achieve orbit.  OCO-2 will map and continously monitor global atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, in an orbit which will allow it to coordinate observations with the A-Train constellation of Earth observing satellites.

SpaceflightNow has a nice collection of images of the vehicle stacking.  😉

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