Liftoff for NASA's ICESat-2!
On Sept. 15, 2018, the final Delta II rocket launched into space carrying NASA's ICESat-2 satellite, ending an era for the workhorse rocket. See photos from the historic last launch of the famed United Launch Alliance booster here. This Image: The last United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket launches NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on Sept. 15, 2018. ICESat-2 will use a laser instrument to measure the changing height of Earth's ice.
One Last Launch
The Delta II rocket carrying NASA's ICESat-2 mission lifted off at 6:02 a.m. local time (9:02 a.m. EDT, 1302 GMT) from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. Read our full launch story and video wrap up!
NASA's IceSat-2 satellite (top) separates from its Delta II rocket upper stage after a successful launch into orbit on Sept. 15, 2018.
The United Launch Alliance's final Delta II rocket lifts off in a spectacular predawn launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sept. 15, 2018. Liftoff occurred at 6:02 a.m. PDT (9:02 a.m. EDT/1302 GMT).
A Brilliant Liftoff
A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, the last ever to fly, launches NASA's ICESat-2 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California before dawn on Sept. 15, 2018. ICESat-2 will measure Earth's ice sheets from space with a laser.
Delta II's Final Flight
Shortly after launch, the rocket jettisoned four engines that had helped it leave Earth.
1st Stage Engine Cutoff
A little over four minutes after lift-off, the main engine of the Delta II rocket cut off in preparation for the rocket's second stage to continue on alone.
Ready to Fly
A view of the final Delta II rocket on the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, topped by NASA's ICESat-2 mission about 30 minutes before the rocket's scheduled launch.
A Number for Space
Today's Delta II rocket marks the 381st launch by a Delta family rocket. To commemorate the final Delta II launch, ULA had about 800 current and former program staffers sign the stars that decorated the rocket.
At the Pad
A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, the last ever to launch, is prepared to launch NASA's ICESat-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California ahead of its Sept. 15, 2018 liftoff.
An artist's depiction of the ICESat-2 spacecraft in action, measuring the thickness of Earth's ice sheets.