EELV | Delta IV, Atlas V, Falcon 9

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Product Type:

Family of expendable launch vehicles

Using Service (US):

Air Force (USAF)

Program Status:

In Production

Prime Contractors:

United Launch Alliance (ULA)
A Boeing / Lockheed Martin Joint Venture

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)

EELV Delta IV Launch Vehicle

About the EELV Program:





EELV is a U.S. Air Force program, which provides three families of launch vehicles used to carry payloads (e.g. satellites) into space. The vehicles are expendable (designed to be used only once). The families of launch vehicles used are the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV and Atlas V and the Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Falcon 9.

The EELV system includes launch vehicles, launch capability, a standard payload interface, support systems, mission integration, flight instrumentation and range interfaces, special studies, post-flight data evaluation and analysis, mission assurance, assured access, system/process and reliability improvements, training, and technical support. The system also includes launch site/operations activities, activities in support of assured access, systems integration and tests, and other related support activities.

The EELV program provides the DoD, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and other government and commercial purchasers with launch services for medium- to heavy-lift class satellites. From December 2006 to May 2015, ULA a Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture, was the sole provider of EELV launch services. The Air Force announced on May 26, 2015 that the SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch System had been certified for NSS launches with the Falcon 9 v1.1 as the baseline. SpaceX was now eligible for awards of National Security Space (NSS) launch missions and in April 2016, the company was awarded a $82.7 million firm-fixed price, standalone contract for the launch of the second GPS III satellite.

The EELV program funds a total of 161 launches including launch vehicles and launch services. As of December 2015, there have been 92 successful EELV launches (59 NSS and 33 NASA / Commercial).



Delta IV Launch Vehicle:

Developed in partnership with the U.S. Air Force EELV program, the ULA's Delta IV Family of launch vehicles combines design simplicity, manufacturing efficiency, and streamlined mission and vehicle integration to launch high-priority Air Force, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), NASA, and commercial payloads to orbit. Operational Delta IV launch pads are located on both the East and West Coast with Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Delta IV launch system comes in five variants: the Delta IV Medium (Delta IV M); three variants of the Delta IV Medium-Plus (Delta IV M+); and the Delta IV Heavy (Delta IV H). Each variant is comprised of a common booster core powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine; a cryogenic upper-stage powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2; and either a 4 or 5 meter composite payload fairing.



Atlas V Launch Vehicle:

The ULA's Atlas V Family of launch vehicles was first deployed in August 2002. Atlas V vehicles are launched from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, thus providing launch pads on both U.S. coasts. The Atlas V has followed a carefully executed program of incremental improvements, which has resulted in a 100% mission success rate. The Atlas V Family provides the latest evolutionary versions of the Atlas launch system. It includes the flight-proven Atlas V-400 and Atlas V-500 vehicles. Atlas V uses a standard common booster core (powered by the RD-180 engine produced by Russian company NPO Energomash - note: new engine being developed to replace the RD-180); up to five solid rocket boosters; either a single-engine Centaur or a dual-engine Centaur upper stage powered by the AeroJet Rocketdyne RL10A-4-2 engine; and either the Atlas heritage 4.2 meter payload fairing or the 5.4 meter Oerlikon.



Falcon 9 Launch System:

The SpaceX Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured for the reliable and safe transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. Falcon 9 was designed from the ground up and is the first rocket completely developed in the 21st century. With nine first-stage engines, it can safely complete its mission even in the event of an engine shutdown. The Falcon 9 made history in 2012 when it delivered the Dragon spacecraft into orbit for rendezvous with the International Space Station making SpaceX the first commercial company ever to visit the station. The Falcon 9's first stage incorporates nine SpaceX Merlin rocket engines and aluminum-lithium alloy tanks containing liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) propellant. The interstage is a composite structure that connects the first and second stages and holds the release and separation system. The second stage is powered by a single SpaceX Merlin Vacuum (MVac) engine and delivers the payload to the desired orbit. The latest Falcon 9 rocket is the Full Thrust (FT) variant, which replaced the Falcon 9 v1.1 in 2015.



Total Cost - Life of Program (LoP):

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, which provides the total procurement cost of the EELV program as well as research and development (RDT&E) funds in support of the program.



Mission/Role:

The EELV program provides Delta IV, Atlas V and Falcon 9 launch vehicles and services for medium and heavy class satellite payloads.



FY 2017 DoD EELV Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, which provides historic EELV spending figures and quantities as well as a unique 10-Year Budget Forecast.



FY 2018 DoD EELV Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, which provides historic EELV spending figures and quantities as well as a unique 10-Year Budget Forecast.




Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), United Launch Alliance (ULA),
SpaceX, AeroJet Rocketdyne, and Orbital ATK.

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