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ULA, NASA pull off successful final mission of the Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base

Posted at 6:09 AM, Sep 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-15 09:09:31-04

The Delta II rocket lifted off successfully from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 6:02 a.m. on Saturday for the final time.

The 40-minute launch window opened at 5:46 a.m. Liftoff was delayed until 6:02 a.m. so that the United Launch Alliance team would have more time to fix a potential temperature issue.

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will use laser pulses to measure the elevation of Earth’s surface. It will help scientists calculate the height of the planet’s terrain and track changes in glaciers, sea ice, lakes, and forests.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) is retiring the Delta II as it focuses more on its Delta IV and Atlas V rockets. 

According to ULA, McDonnell Douglas created the rocket in the late 1980s to launch GPS satellites for the Air Force. But now, GPS satellites are larger and require larger launch vehicles than the Delta II.

This was the 155th flight of a Delta II rocket. The first launch was in 1989.