ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket launch scrubbed again

Liftoff was scheduled for 3:28 a.m. with national security mission

ULA's Delta IV Heavy rocket at Launch Complex 37. (Image: ULA)
ULA's Delta IV Heavy rocket at Launch Complex 37. (Image: ULA) (WKMG 2020)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.***4:15 a.m. Aug. 29, 2020 p.m.***

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launch of a national security satellite was scrubbed for the second time this week.

A new date and time has not been announced when the launch will be rescheduled.

The liftoff was scheduled for 2:04 a.m. but due to a temperature reading on the rocket the countdown was delayed until 3:28 a.m.

Three seconds before the launch on Saturday morning the countdown stopped.

ULA Launch Director Lou Mangieri announced another attempt would not be made Saturday within the launch window.

The mega rocket did not get off the ground due to an unexpected condition three seconds before liftoff, prompting an automatic abort, according to launch officials. It will take at least seven days to assess the issue and select a new launch date, according to ULA.

SpaceX is still targeting two launches scheduled on Sunday.

***ORIGINAL***

United Launch Alliance will launch a U.S. national security mission using its Delta IV Heavy rocket early Saturday morning and it should be a treat for early risers because the heavy-lift rocket is a rare sight.

The launch was originally scheduled for 2:04 a.m. on Saturday and was delayed until 3:28 a.m.

The launch will take place from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Inside the rocket’s nose cone is a spacecraft known as NROL-44, a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The first attempt was scrubbed due to an issue with a critical ground pneumatic control system.

The liftoff marks the eighth for the Delta heavy for NRO missions, according to ULA. The private space company has another launch lined up for NRO sometime in September but that will be with Altas V, ULA’s workhorse rocket.

Last October, the heavy-lift rocket launched NASA’s Parker Solar Probe from Cape Canaveral on a mission to study the sun.

Ahead of the launch, ULA did something unusual with the rocket. It used the rocket and launch hangar as a backdrop to project an interactive video, known as 3D mapping.

The project took three years to complete because it’s a rocket with a national security payload on a Air Force Station with restricted access. It’s the first time a real rocket has been used as a landscape for art, according to ULA. The idea came from ULA CEO Tory Bruno.

If ULA’s launch goes on time, it will be the first of three possible launches this weekend from the Space Coast. SpaceX has two launches planned, both for Sunday.

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