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.
The launch of a top secret National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has been pushed back from Dec. 13 until no earlier than Jan. 10 to complete software validation on the Delta 4 rocket’s new avionics system, United Launch Alliance announced Wednesday.
The United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket, standing 217 feet tall and weighing 900,000 pounds, unleashes 1.8 million pounds of thrust from its main engine and four side-mounted boosters at 8:18 p.m. EDT Saturday (0018 GMT Sunday) to launch the ninth Wideband Global SATCOM satellite for U.S. military and allied communications.