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U.S. Space-Launch Vehicle TechnologyViking to Space Shuttle$
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J.D Hunley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813031781

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813031781.001.0001

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The Thor-Delta Family of Space-Launch Vehicles, 1958–1990

The Thor-Delta Family of Space-Launch Vehicles, 1958–1990

(p.40) 2 The Thor-Delta Family of Space-Launch Vehicles, 1958–1990
U.S. Space-Launch Vehicle Technology

J. D. Hunley

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses the development of the Thor-Delta family of space launch vehicles. The Thor missiles did not remain in operational use very long, but even before the Air Force retired them in 1963, it had begun to use Thor's airframe and propulsive elements, including its vernier engines, as the first stages of various launch vehicles. With a series of upratings and modifications, Thor remained in use with such upper stages as Able, Able-Star, Agena, Burner I, Burner II, and Burner IIA until 1980. In addition, NASA quickly chose Thor as the first stage of what became its Thor-Delta (later called just Delta) launch vehicle family, which has had an even longer history than the Air Force's Thor series of launch vehicles did. The Delta launch vehicles initially drew upon Vanguard upper stages, as did the Thor-Able used by the Air Force.

Keywords:   Thor missiles, rocket technology, launch vehicle technology

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