EELV - Delta IV and Atlas V

Product Type:

Family of Launch Vehicles

Using Service (US):

Air Force (USAF)

Program Status:

In Production

Prime Contractors:

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

Specifications DoD Spending FY2015 Budget

EELV Delta IV Launch Vehicle

About the EELV Program:

The EELV is a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) program, which provides two families of launch vehicles, the Delta IV and Atlas V. 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. As of December 2006, the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture, is the sole provider of EELV launch services. ULA will assure access to space with two launch vehicle systems by combining Delta IV/Atlas V management and engineering in Denver, Colorado; combining most of the manufacturing in Decatur, Alabama; and combining launch teams at both launch sites.

The EELV program funds a total of 163 launches including launch vehicles and launch services. Air Force missions make up 101 of the 163 launches. The remaining missions include funding and quantities from other sources to include the NRO, the U.S. Navy, and one purchase by the Australian Government. Navy funding is for the launch of 11 Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellites.

On January 28, 2015, the Air Force awarded ULA a $383 million contract modification for three additional Launch Vehicle Production Services (LVPS), which increased the total value of the contract to $4.08 billion.

Delta IV Launch Vehicle:

Developed in partnership with the U.S. Air Force EELV program, the United Launch Alliance 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 (GenCorp) Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine; a cryogenic upper-stage powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2; and either a 4 or a 5 meter composite payload fairing.

Atlas V Launch Vehicle:

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V Family of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV) 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); 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.

Due to the Russian intervention in Ukraine, the DoD is currently looking for a U.S. replacement for the russian-built RD-180. The Air Force issued a request for information (RFI) on August 21, 2014. Likely replacements are the Aerojet Rocketdyne AR1, Blue Origin's BE-4, or a solid fuel solution from ATK.

Price/Unit Cost:

The price of a launch vehicle is $145.22 million in FY 2014.

Total Cost - Life of Program (LoP):

The total procurement cost of the EELV program is $65.69 billion (estimated by the DoD) + $1.93 billion in research and development (RDT&E) funds, which means the total estimated program cost is $67.62 billion (numbers are aggregated annual funds spent over the life of the program and no price/inflation adjustment was made).


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

FY 2014 DoD Program:

Funds the purchase of 5 launch vehicles and associated launch services and support activities.

FY 2015 DoD Program:

Funds the purchase of 3 launch vehicles and associated launch services and support activities. FY 2015 EELV procurement funds are used to acquire launch services to provide critical space support required to satisfy DoD, national security, and other government space lift missions while fostering interagency and commercial cooperation. Launch services include, but are not limited to, launch vehicle manufacturing, secondary payload standard service, launch propellants, independent mission assurance, evaluation and certification of potential new entrants including early integration activities and analysis/support. The Air Force is responsible for funding its own missions. All non-Air Force EELV launch services are funded within their respective entities (e.g. NRO, Navy, etc.).

For more information, click to see the FY 2015 DoD EELV Launch Vehicle Budget and the FY 2015 DoD EELV Infrastructure Budget.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and United Launch Alliance (ULA)

Last Update: January 29, 2015.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// (

External Resources:

UAL Delta IV: Delta IV Launch Vehicle
UAL Atlas V: Atlas V Launch Vehicle

YouTube: Delta IV & Atlas V | YouTube Videos

Fact Sheet: Delta IV | Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet: Atlas V | Fact Sheet

Total EELV Program Cost:

  $67.62 billion  ($65.69B procurement + $1.93B RDT&E)

EELV Procurement Objective:

  163 launch vehicles

EELV U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the EELV Program in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
DoD Purchases of Launch Vehicles in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
Defense Budget Data

Go to Top

DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12/13 + Budget for FYs 2014 + 2015

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the EELV Program

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Purchases of EELV Launch Vehicles (USAF) Purchases of EELV Infrastructure (USAF)

Specifications: EELV (Family of Launch Vehicles)

Go to Top

Specifications | Delta IV Launch Vehicle

Primary Function: Satellite launch vehicle
Prime Contractor: United Launch Alliance (UAL) - a Boeing / Lockheed Martin Joint Venture
Height: 207 to 236 ft (63 to 72 m)
Diameter: 16.4 ft (5 m)
Weight: 550,000 to 1,617,000 lbs (249,500 to 733,400 kg)
Stages: 2
First Stage: 1-3 common booster cores
First Stage Engine: AeroJet Rocketdyne RS-68 liquid oxygen/hydrogen engine
Second Stage: Cryogenic
Second Stage Engine: 1x AeroJet Rocketdyne RL10B-2
Payload GEO:
Medium: 9,480 lbs (4,300 kg)
M+ (4.2): 13,290 lbs (6,030 kg)
M+ (5.4): 15,470 lbs (7,020 kg)
Heavy: 28,620 lbs (12,980 kg)
Payload LEO:
Medium: 20,170 lbs (9,150 kg)
M+ (4.2): 26,980 lbs (12,240 kg)
M+ (5.4): 29,450 lbs (13,360 kg)
Heavy: 49,740 lbs (22,560 kg)
Guidance System: L-3 Communications Redundant Inertial Flight Control Assembly (RIFCA)
Price/Unit Cost: Unknown
Deployed: First Launch: November 2002

Launch Vehicle Specifications | Atlas V

Primary Function: Satellite launch vehicle
Prime Contractor: United Launch Alliance (UAL) - a Boeing / Lockheed Martin Joint Venture
Height: 191.3 ft (58.3 m)
Diameter: 12.5 ft (3.8 m)
Weight: 737,400 lbs (334,500 kg)
Stages: 2
First Stage: 1-5 common booster cores
First Stage Engine: NPO Energomash RD-180 engine (pending replacement)
Second Stage: Centaur
Second Stage Engine: 1x or 2x AeroJet Rocketdyne RL10A-4-2
Payload GEO:
V-401: 10,470 lbs (4,750 kg)
V-431: 16,970 lbs (7,700 kg)
V-551: 19,260 lbs (8,900 kg)
V-HLV: 28,660 lbs (13,000 kg)
Payload LEO:
V-401: 20,650 lbs (9,370 kg)
V-431: 33,650 lbs (15,130 kg)
V-551: 40,800 lbs (18,510 kg)
V-HLV: 64,820 lbs (29,400 kg)
Guidance System: Honeywell Fault Tolerant Inertial Navigation Unit (FTINU)
and Redundant Rate Gyro Unit (RRGU)
Price/Unit Cost: Unknown
Deployed: First Launch: August 2002

Defense Program

Aircraft Programs Missile Programs Space Programs Shipbuilding Programs Vehicle Programs