United Launch Alliance engineers have resolved the problem that triggered an abort of a planned Delta 4-Heavy rocket launch Sept. 30, but the company said Friday it is continuing to evaluate a concern with the launch pad swing arm retraction system at Cape Canaveral. ULA said the Delta 4-Heavy’s mission to launch a classified National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite will be postponed beyond next week.
If all goes according to plan, engineers in southern Mississippi later this month will load cryogenic propellants into the core stage of a rocket NASA says will launch astronauts back to the moon, exposing its tankage and internal plumbing to extreme operating conditions hundreds of degrees below zero for the first time. The fueling test — a major milestone in its own right — is a precursor to a high-stakes eight-minute test-firing of the Space Launch System’s four shuttle-era main engines planned as soon as November.
United Launch Alliance scrubbed the launch of a Delta 4-Heavy rocket Wednesday night less than 10 seconds before liftoff from Cape Canaveral, the second such abort suffered by this mission.. The launch of a classified National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite is expected to be delayed at least several more days as engineers assess the cause of Wednesday’s last-minute abort.
The flight of a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket set for Aug. 26 from Cape Canaveral continues the Delta rocket family’s countdown to retirement. With five Delta 4-Heavy missions left to launch, ULA’s chief executive Tory Bruno says there are no plans to build more as the company transitions to the next-generation Vulcan Centaur rocket.