The launch of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, on the verge of kicking off a seven-year mission culminating in passages through the sun’s atmosphere, has been delayed to Aug. 6 to resolve a technical snag encountered during encapsulation of the spacecraft inside the nose shroud of its United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket.
Gearing up for a predawn blastoff July 31, launch crews have positioned a Delta 4-Heavy rocket in the starting blocks on a seaside launch complex at Cape Canaveral as engineers inside a tightly-controlled clean room a few miles away put the final touches on a NASA probe that will travel closer to the sun than any mission before.
United Launch Alliance kicked off its 2018 launch campaign with a Delta 4 rocket flight at 2:11 p.m. PST (5:11 p.m. EST; 2211 GMT) Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Gusty winds forced officials to call off a launch attempt Wednesday, and technical problems halted a countdown Thursday multiple times. The Delta 4 launched with a top secret spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.