Driven by three RS-68A main engines, a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket lifted off early Sunday from Cape Canaveral carrying NASA’s Parker Solar Probe on a historic mission to study the sun.
The heavy-duty rocket, standing 233 feet (71 meters) tall, climbed away from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 37B launch pad at 3:31 a.m. EDT (0731 GMT) Sunday, a day after officials scrubbed launch attempt due to an alarm in the final two minutes of the countdown.
Three Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A main engines ignited in a staggered step-by-step fashion beginning at approximately T-minus 7 seconds, then throttled up to generate a combined 2.1 million pounds of thrust as the Delta 4-Heavy took off from Cape Canaveral.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe was bolted on top of the Delta 4-Heavy, the biggest rocket in the world, to begin a $1.5 billion mission to explore the sun’s corona for the first time.
These photos show the Delta 4-Heavy’s launch in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
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