Delta 5000


Delta 5000 series
Launch of the Delta 5920 with COBE
FunctionExpendable launch system
Country of originUnited States
Cost per launchUS$34.22 million in 1985 [1] (US$79.99 million in 2018)
Height34 m (112 ft)
Diameter2.44 m (8 ft 0 in)
Mass201,580 kg (444,410 lb)
Payload to LEO
Mass3,848 kg (8,483 lb)
Payload to GTO
Mass1,405 kg (3,097 lb)
Associated rockets
ComparableDelta 4000, Delta II
Launch history
Launch sitesVandenberg SLC-2W
Total launches1
Launch date18 November 1989
Boosters – Castor 4A
No. boosters9
Length9.12 m (29.9 ft)
Diameter1.02 m (3 ft 4 in)
Empty mass1,529 kg (3,371 lb)
Gross mass11,743 kg (25,889 lb)
Thrust478.3 kN (107,500 lbf)
Specific impulse
    • Sea level: 237 seconds
    • Vacuum: 266 seconds
Burn time56 s
First stage – Thor/Delta ELT
Length22.37 m (73.4 ft)
Diameter2.44 m (8 ft 0 in)
Empty mass4,360 kg (9,610 lb)
Gross mass84,368 kg (186,000 lb)
Engines1 RS-27
Thrust1,030.2 kN (231,600 lbf)
Specific impulse
    • Sea level: 262 seconds
    • Vacuum: 296 seconds
Burn time223 s
FuelLOX / RP-1
Second stage – Delta K
Length5.89 m (19.3 ft)
Diameter2.44 m (8 ft 0 in)
Empty mass950 kg (2,090 lb)
Gross mass6,954 kg (15,331 lb)
Engines1 AJ10-118K
Thrust43.6 kN (9,800 lbf)
Specific impulse319 s
Burn time431 s
/ Aerozine 50

The Delta 5000 series was an American expendable launch system which was used to conduct an orbital launch in 1989. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets. Although several variants were put forward, only the Delta 5920 was launched. The designation used a four digit numerical code to store information on the configuration of the rocket. It was built from a combination of spare parts left over from earlier Delta rockets, which were being retired, and parts from the Delta II 6000-series, which was just entering service.

The first stage was the RS-27 powered Extended Long Tank Thor, flown on several earlier Delta rockets. Nine Castor-4A solid rocket boosters were attached to increase thrust at lift-off, replacing the less powerful Castor-4 boosters used on the 3000 series. The Delta-K was used as a second stage. In the configuration that was launched, no third stage was flown.

The Delta 5000 was launched just once, from Space Launch Complex 2W at the Vandenberg Air Force Base. Launch occurred at 14:34 on 18 November 1989. It was successful, and placed the Cosmic Background Explorer spacecraft into low Earth orbit.


  1. ^
  • Wade, Mark. "Delta". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2009-02-15.
  • Krebs, Gunter. "Thor family". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-02-15.
  • Wade, Mark. "Delta 5000". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2018-09-09.