ULA’s Delta Mariner Strikes Bridge – Causing Partial Collapse

The Delta Mariner, used by United Launch Alliance to transport rocket parts, has struck a bridge in Kentucky causing a section of the bridge to collapse. Photo Credit: Vandenberg.af.mil

The United Launch Alliance’s Delta Mariner has struck the Eggner Ferry Bridge located at U.S. Highway 68 and Kentucky Highway 80 over the Tennessee River Thursday evening, Jan. 26 at 8:15 p.m. Central Time causing a section of the bridge to collapse. 

The vessel was transporting the Atlas booster and its Centaur upper stage that will be used to launch the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-2) satellite. That launch is currently scheduled to take place this April. The Delta Mariner was also carrying the interstage adapter for NASA’s Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) mission, which is currently scheduled to launch in August. According to a press release issued by ULA, the accident should not impact either launch. 

Images show a section of the bridge draped over the nose of the ship. The cargo section, which contained all of the rocket components, did not sustain any damage. Given the sophisticated avionics that these launch systems employ – ULA will test the components to insure that they were not affected during the accident. 

The Delta Mariner was commissioned in 2002 to transport hardware from ULA’s factory in Decatur, Ala., to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The ship is about 312 feet in length and is owned and operated by Foss Marine. The Coast Guard is conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

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  • Aletta Houser Hargis

    Not much to investigate except who was in charge of this ship,and where were their eyes looking?This has caused a major setback for the highly visited area not to mention people who travel this everyday to and from work.Maybe the ships owners would like to compensate everyone who has been affected by the bridge being out.

  • Only thing to investigate is what in the world was going on inside this ship?Were they having a party and not looking at what they were doing.This has caused a major hardship to the area.People depend on the bridge everyday to go to and from work,college students use it going to Murray State,commercial fisherman use it,etc……….The ships owners should have to compensate all the local merchants and everyone who will loose income,not to mention the cost of gas for having to go out of their way.Granted the bridge was old,narrow and a new one was in the planning stages,but it would have still been there had some idiot,not have taken it down