Emre Kelly, Florida Today
Published 1:19 p.m. ET Sept. 26, 2020 | Updated 1:20 p.m. ET Sept. 26, 2020
A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch the National Reconnaissance Office’s next payload from Cape Canaveral in August.
Technical issues forced United Launch Alliance to again delay an upcoming Delta IV Heavy rocket launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the company said Saturday.
“Additional time is needed for the team to test and evaluate the swing arm retraction system,” ULA said of the 24-hour delay from early Sunday to early Monday. “As we believe in safety first and are dedicated to mission success, we are taking our time to thoroughly review the data to determine the appropriate path forward.”
Teams at Launch Complex 37 will target no earlier than just after midnight Monday. An exact liftoff time had not yet been decided.
This mission, tasked with launching an intelligence satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, has been delayed and scrubbed several times beginning in late August due to a series of hardware issues. Most have involved faulty ground support equipment like the swing arm system, pneumatics, and pressure regulators.
If ULA’s latest schedule holds, the Space Force expects 70% “go” weather conditions during the window. Thick and cumulus clouds are the main liftoff concerns.
The Space Coast is trying to fit in three launches before the end of the month, but Delta IV Heavy’s delays are also pushing two upcoming SpaceX missions. This latest shift means a Falcon 9 mission with 60 Starlink satellites at Kennedy Space Center will likely now target around 10 a.m. Tuesday for its liftoff.
A second Falcon 9 at Launch Complex 40 was then slated to fly at 9:55 p.m. Tuesday with a Global Positioning System satellite for the Space Force. But as of Saturday afternoon, it was unknown whether or not SpaceX would have to push this mission to late Wednesday.
See the latest, most up-to-date launch calendar at www.bit.ly/3czB11m.
Contact Emre Kelly at email@example.com or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly. Support his space journalism by subscribing at floridatoday.com/specialoffer/.
Launch Monday, Sept. 28
- Rocket: United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy
- Mission: Classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite
- Launch Time: Just after midnight
- Launch Complex: 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
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