After several weeks of delays due to faulty devices and bad weather, the United Alliance Alliance is ready to launch its most powerful rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, by snatching a classified spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office fee. After the rocket’s first launch attempt, the mission is finally ready for a full month of flight, which was abandoned just three seconds before the liftoff.
Rocket Delta IV is a heavy vehicle going over the ULA mission, a huge vehicle consisting of three rocket cores with extra thrust provided. It is one of the most powerful rockets in the world, although it falls short of the power packed in SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. The ULA often does not fly Delta IV heavy, as it is an expensive vehicle to build, but the company uses rockets for large, heavy satellites moving towards super, high orbit.
The payload of the rocket is NROL-44, and like all NRO missions, its purpose is also kept secret. “NROL-44 supports the NRO’s overall national security mission to provide intelligence to senior policy makers, the intelligence community and the Department of Defense,” the office noted. URA has already launched 29 missions for NROs, many of which require Delta IV Heavy.
ULA is set to launch NRL-44 early in the morning on August 29th. The Delta IV Heavy’s main engines briefly ignited the ULA and calculated all in a few minutes before the lift off. But the engines quickly shut down and the rocket landed on the launchpad. The ULA later learned that a piece of ground equipment had failed, prompting him to leave. It took the company a few weeks to replace the faulty devices.
Further issues with the devices on the launch launchpad delayed the launch time again, but ULA will be hoping to get off the ground this week. Unfortunately the weather does not agree, with bad conditions delaying efforts on Monday and Tuesday. But in the end, there’s a 70 percent chance the weather will cooperate tonight – so maybe today is the day.
The Delta IV Heavy will depart from ULA’s launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:54 a.m. on Tuesday. ULA’s launch blog will begin at 3:15 a.m. ET, and its webcast will begin at 11:34 a.m., for those who are still awake and hoping to catch a midnight launch.
Update September 30, 3:00 pm ET: This post has been updated from an older post, after multiple launch delays.