Delta IV
Parker Solar Probe

Live Updates



Delta IV Heavy to Launch Parker Solar Probe

Rocket: Delta IV Heavy
Mission: Parker Solar Probe
Launch Date: Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018
Launch Time: 3:31 a.m. EDT at the beginning of a 65-minute launch window
Launch Broadcast: Tune in beginning at 3 a.m. EDT
Launch Location: Space Launch Complex-37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

Mission Information: Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first mission to the sun. After launch, it will orbit directly through the solar atmosphere – the corona – closer to the surface than any human-made object has ever gone. While facing brutal heat and radiation, the mission will reveal fundamental science behind what drives the solar wind, the constant outpouring of material from the sun that shapes planetary atmospheres and affects space weather near Earth.

Parker Solar Probe is part of NASA’s Living With a Star Program to explore aspects of the connected sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society.

Launch Notes: Due to the extremely high energy required for this mission, the Delta IV Heavy’s capability will be augmented by a powerful third stage provided by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.

Launch Updates: To keep up to speed with updates to the launch countdown, dial the ULA launch hotline at 1-877-852-4321 or join the conversation at, and; hashtag #DeltaIV


Go Delta! Go Parker Solar Probe!


The Delta IV rocket

United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV rocket has served the nation’s high-priority U.S. Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office space programs with distinction since entering service in 2002. Having flown 36 missions in a variety of configurations ranging from medium-lift to heavy-lifter, the Delta IV continues the legacy of the Delta rocket family that dates to 1960.


  • Height: 233 feet
  • Weight: 1.6 million pounds
  • Thrust: 2.1 million pounds
  • Fuel: 465,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, solid-fuel third stage

Parker Solar Probe will launch aboard a special three-stage configuration of the Delta IV Heavy rocket to embark on a journey to surf through the sun's corona. The rocket features three hydrogen-fueled common booster cores, each with an RS-68A main engine, to provide the initial thrust out of Earth's atmosphere, a Delta Cryogenic Second Stage with an RL10B-2 engine to achieve an intermediate escape orbit and a Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems solid-fuel third stage -- called the Star 48BV -- to deliver the final push to send Parker Solar Probe on its trajectory to the inner solar system. The spacecraft is protected during atmospheric ascent by a 63-foot-long bi-sector composite payload fairing.


A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket will deliver NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to an interplanetary trajectory to the sun. Liftoff will occur from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. NASA selected ULA’s Delta IV Heavy for its unique ability to deliver the necessary energy to begin the Parker Solar Probe’s journey to the sun.