Delta III 8930
Kit: Model designed by Erik te Groen,
Delta III, an uprated version of the Thor-Delta series of
launch vehicles, was one of those ideas that looked good on paper but
didn't work so well in reality. While it was a commercial flop, the
McDonnell Douglas project did succeed in testing the liquid hydrogen
upper stage that Boeing (which later acquired McDonnell Douglas) would
use on the Delta IV.
Delta III was designed to launch 8.3
metric tons into low earth orbit (LEO) or 3.8 metric tons to
geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). There were three Delta III
launches. The first, Delta 259, was launched in 8/27/98 and failed 75
seconds after liftoff, destroying a $225 million communications
satellite. Delta 269 was launched 5/5/99. It carried another
communications satellite, but when its second-stage engine wouldn’t
restart, it stranded the payload in a low parking orbit. As concerns
about Delta III’s reliability grew – coupled with a downturn in the
commercial satellite market -- the third and final Delta III flight,
Delta 280, was flown with a dummy payload. It was launched 8/23/00.
Afterwards, Boeing stopped production
of the Delta III and reassigned various hardware to its Delta II-Heavy
and new Delta IV family of launch vehicles.
This card model is one of many fine
Delta rockets designed by Erik te Groen and available free online. The
“kit” comes as 105 parts (some are spares) that print onto eight 8.5x11
sheets. There are four pages of clear and well-diagramed instructions.
I printed the sheets onto 65-pound
white card stock. Except for an additional piece added here and there to
provide more detail, the model was built basically stock. To give the
model added strength, I attached the payload and fuel tank “skins” onto
appropriately sized model rocket tubes.
I scratchbuilt the stand using an old
picture frame, foam-core board and a wooden dowel.