Launch Gallery: Delta 4 Sends Military Satellite to Orbit

Who doesn’t like a good launch? These images and videos from last night’s launch of United Launch Alliance’s Delta 4 rocket are just pretty. The rocket boosted an international military communications satellite to orbit following a beautiful night-time launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:29 pm EDT on August 7 (00:29 UTC on August 8, 2013). The 21-story-tall Delta 4 included four solid-fuel strap-on boosters for extra oomph. As @OxyAstro said on Twitter last night, “I like to think of the Delta IV as an apartment building sitting on a few million lbs of thrust.”

Images here are from John O’Connor at, and enjoy a close-up video of the launch, below, from Matthew Travis.

A standard video view of the launch is below.

On board was the WGS-6 (Wideband Global Satcom)a big 6,000 kg (13,200 lb) satellite that is part of a military communications network shared by the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

As flames from the hydrogen-rich ignition coil around the boosters the RS-68 main engine comes up to full power. Credit: John O’Connor/
Rising from the launch table the Delta IV/WGS-6 mission begins. Credit: John O’Connor/
Clear of the lightning towers the WGS-6 mission streaks to super-sync geo orbit. Credit: John O’Connor/
Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

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