Update 2:00 a.m. EDT August 27: ULA canceled the launch attempt Thursday morning due to an issue with a ground air control system. The next available opportunity will arrive Friday (August 28) at 2:08 a.m. EDT (0608 GMT).
CAP CANAVERAL, Fla .
— United Launch Alliance (ULA) is preparing to launch its most powerful spark plug in the rocket fleet: the Delta IV Heavy. The monster will depart Thursday (August 27) at 2:12 a.m. EDT (6:12 a.m. GMT), bringing a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, and you can watch all the action live.
The eight-and-a-half-hour countdown will begin tonight (August 26) at 5:42 p.m.
EDT (2142 GMT) and include two 15-minute scheduled suspensions. Coverage of the launch will begin approximately 20 minutes before takeoff, and you can watch the launch live here on Space.com or via ULA.
According to ULA, the mission launch window opens at 1:50 a.m.
EDT (0550 GMT) and extends until 6:25 a.m. EDT (10:25 GMT), with the company aiming for a takeoff at 2:12 a.m. EDT (0612 GMT). There may be other opportunities during the period, but officials have yet to reveal them. Thousands without electricity
Related: NROL-71 Spy Satellite Flies on Secret Mission on Top of Delta IV Heavy Rocket
Launched from Space Launch Complex 37 here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, the trawler carries a payload classified for the National Reconnaissance Office (the US government’s spy satellite agency).
The mission, dubbed NROL-44, marks the 12th flight of a Delta IV Heavy rocket since its debut in 2004, and is one of only five Delta rockets remaining as ULA plans to remove the launcher before launching its vehicle. next generation, the Vulcan centaur. (ULA previously retired the Delta II rocket in 2018 and its Delta IV Medium in 2019.)
The weather forecast looks good for tomorrow’s scheduled take-off, with an 80% chance of favorable conditions and only minor concerns about cumulus formation from isolated downpours moving on the ground, according to the latest published forecast. by the 45th Air Force Meteorological Squadron, which monitors the weather for launches from Cape Canaveral.
Just before the launch countdown begins, the 100-meter-high veil enclosing the rocket, called the Mobile Service Tower, or MST, will roll away from the colossal craft. Comprised of three hydrogen powered first stage common core repeaters (which are linked together) and a cryogenic second stage, the Delta IV Heavy stands 233 feet (71 m) tall and stands approximately 53 feet (16 m) ) wide.
Powered by 1.76 million liters (465,000 gallons) of super-cooled liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, the massive rocket generates more than 2 million pounds of thrust. It is currently the most powerful rocket in the ULA fleet.
Of the 11 previous Delta IV Heavy launches, seven carried NRO payloads.
Some of the vehicle’s other major missions carried NASA’s Orion capsule on an unmanned test flight and the agency’s Parker solar probe on a mission to study the sun.
The remaining five missions of Delta IV Heavy will launch NRO satellites. Three will depart from Cape Town, including this one, and two from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Many NRO payloads are extremely heavy and bulky, similar to a school bus launch, and are designed to be mounted on top of their rockets in a vertical rather than horizontal configuration. For this reason, military officials say the Delta IV Heavy is the only launcher on the market today capable of meeting their needs.
it also has a heavy lifting vehicle – the Falcon Heavy .
but uses a horizontal technique to supplement its rockets and payloads. Additionally, the fairing (or nose cone) of the Delta IV Heavy is larger than that of the Falcon Heavy, so the Delta can better accommodate the huge NRO satellites.
However, the Falcon Heavy rocket has an advantage over the Delta, as it can lift heavier loads into space at a reduced cost. In 2018, the Air Force awarded SpaceX a coveted $ 130 million contract to launch a military payload, less than half the estimated cost of a Delta IV Heavy mission.
Once online, the Vulcan Centaur will have the same vertical integration capability as the Delta; however, SpaceX plans to change that by offering vertical integration capabilities and an extended fairing for its Falcon Heavy rocket in the future to make the launch system more competitive.
On August 7, the Department of Defense announced that ULA and SpaceX would share launch duties for military launches until 2027. ULA won 60% of the