COBE Launch on a Delta Rocket


The launch of the COBE spacecraft by a Delta rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base on November 18, 1989, capped a period of development that required 13 years, starting in 1976, when NASA granted planning funds to Goddard Space Flight Center and the new science team.  
The final project plan was approved by NASA in 1982, so that teams of scientists and engineers could start building the satellite.  The original plan was to launch COBE on the Space Shuttle.  The project was coming to a head in 1986 when the Challenger tragedy occurred, and the lives of all seven astronauts were lost.  NASA halted operations for two years and many missions were scuttled. When a Delta rocket became available the project could finally move ahead.