United Launch Alliance (ULA) is making the final preparations for the launch of its powerful Delta IV Heavy rocket late on Friday, August 28.
Mission NROL-44 was supposed to depart Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday morning, but the countdown clock had to be halted while the team worked to resolve an issue on the launchpad. A short while later, the launch effort was called off for the day after the discovery of another technical problem that couldn’t be fixed within the remainder of the four-hour launch window.
Friday’s mission will carry into space a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency.
The launch will mark the 141st mission for ULA and the 29th for the NRO. It’s also the 385th Delta launch since 1960, the 12th Delta IV Heavy, and the 8th Heavy for the NRO, the Colorado-based company said.
The awesome rocket features three booster cores for extra power to deploy the satellite into a higher orbit. It’s the largest rocket in ULA’s fleet and the second most powerful rocket in service today after SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy.
When is the launch?
Weather forecasts suggest there’s an 80% chance that conditions will be favorable for launch, so as long as all other preparations go as planned, ULA’s Delta IV Heavy will launch from Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral at 11:04 p.m PT on Friday, August 29, with the launch window open until 3:25 a.m. PT. To get the latest updates, be sure to check ULA’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
How to watch
ULA will fire up its livestream of the launch about 10 minutes before lift-off. Check the top of this page for the real-time feed, or head to ULA’s YouTube channel for coverage.
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