NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) was a mission to rendezvous and orbit around an near earth asteroid (433 Eros). On the cruise to Eros, it flew by asteroid 253 Mathilde on 27 Jun 1997 and flew by earth on 23 January 1998. After failing to insert itself into Eros' orbit in January 1999, NEAR finally inserted itself into orbit around the asteroid on the second try on 14 February 2000. Initially in a 323 km × 370 km orbit, it lowered its altitude during observation. After reaching orbit, NEAR was renamed NEAR-Shoemaker.
Delta II was an expendable launch system, originally designed and built by McDonnell Douglas. Delta II was part of the Delta rocket family and entered service in 1989. Delta II vehicles included the Delta 6000, and the two later Delta 7000 variants ("Light" and "Heavy"). The rocket flew its final mission ICESat-2 on 15 September 2018, earning the launch vehicle a streak of 100 successful missions in a row, with the last failure being GPS IIR-1 in 1997.