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ULA looks towards Tuesday for Delta IV rocket launch from Cape Canaveral

Crews need more time to investigate swing arm retraction system

ULA's Delta IV Heavy rocket with the NROL-44 spy satellites on Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (Image credit: ULA)
ULA's Delta IV Heavy rocket with the NROL-44 spy satellites on Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (Image credit: ULA) (WKMG 2020)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.***UPDATE ***

United Launch Alliance says it is ready to launch the NROL-44 satellite after multiple postponed launches.

“We are taking extra precautions to ensure all issues are resolved with the swing arm retraction system,” ULA said in a tweet.

Crews are targeting a new launch window on Tuesday at 12:02 a.m. Space Force weather officers are predicting a 60% chance of good weather conditions for the launch window.

***UPDATE 12:12 p.m.***

ULA’s Delta Heavy launch is once again being rescheduled.

Officials said the launch is now set for no earlier than Sept. 28.

Additional time is needed for the team to test and evaluate the swing arm retraction system,” ULA officials said. “As we believe in safety first and are dedicated to mission success, we are taking our time to thoroughly review the data to determine the appropriate path forward.”

UPDATE: United Launch Alliance announced Friday morning that it has scrubbed the early Saturday launch of a Delta IV rocket.

“(The mission) is delayed due to an issue with the swing arm retraction system,” ULA tweeted.

Launch is now scheduled for 12:10 a.m. Sunday.

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After working to fix a ground support equipment issue, United Launch Alliance has set a new targeted liftoff date to launch a national security satellite on its Delta IV Heavy rocket.

The last attempt in August was called off after the countdown reached T-0 resulting in a fiery abort when the engines lit up but the rocket remained on the pad.

ULA CEO Tory Bruno explained on Twitter a torn diaphragm in one of three pressure regulators on the launchpad caused the computer-controlled scrub seconds before liftoff.

“Torn diaphragm (in the regulator), which can occur over time,” Bruno said. “Verifying the condition of the other two regulators. We will replace or rebuild as needed, re-test, and then resume toward launch.”

The heavy-lift rocket is now scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 37 on Sept. 26 at 12:14 a.m. but the launch window extends to 1:35 a.m.

The 45th Weather Squadron with the U.S. Space Force is giving the launch window a 60% of good weather conditions for liftoff, if the launch delays to Sunday chances improve to 80%.

ULA officials said the issue that caused several delays prior has been identified and teams are replacing all three regulators associated with the rocket booster cores.

Onboard the rocket is a satellite called NROL-44, a spacecraft built for the National Reconnaissance Office. It’s one of three NRO payloads ULA is set to launch this year. Although only two will launch on ULA’s heavy lift rocket, the launch set for Sept. 26 and NROL-82 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California later this year.

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