UPDATE: ULA launch scrubbed after weather delayed prelaunch preparations

Weather in Central Florida result in delay of preparations of the Mobile Service Tower

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.***11:33 p.m. 9/29/2020 Update***

The launch of the United Launch Alliance Rocket has been scrubbed after the weather in Central Florida resulted in a delay to relaunch preparations, according to ULA.

ULA officials said this included the roll of the Mobile Service Tower.

Launch officials said a hydraulic leak in the ground system required crews to move the tower and it needed further evaluation.

The weather prevented the team from moving forward with the attempt on Tuesday, according to ULA.

ULA officials said the launch is now scheduled for 11:54 p.m. on Wednesday.

With the latest ULA news, SpaceX said the launch of the Starlink is now set for 9:17 a.m. on Oct. 1 and the launch of GPS III-4 is set for 9:43 p.m. on Friday.


SpaceX’s first launch of the week was scrubbed Monday due to cloudy weather but the company still has another mission ready to liftoff on Wednesday, meanwhile, downrange, there is a United Launch Alliance rocket waiting for liftoff Tuesday night following another technical delay and a scrub.

Elon Musk’s company was preparing to launch its 13th round of Starlink internet satellites Monday from Kennedy Space Center at 10:22 a.m. but about 30 seconds before liftoff heavy clouds and rain remained around the launch pad resulting in a scrub.

Weather will continue to be an issue until late in the week as Central Florida is experiencing stormy weather ahead of a cold front moving in.

Here’s where the launch schedule stands:

Tuesday, 11:58 p.m.: Delta IV Heavy NROL-44 mission

Wednesday, 9:55 p.m.-10:11 p.m.: SpaceX Falcon 9, GPS III satellite

TBD: SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink launch, possibly Thursday

SpaceX has not announced the next launch opportunity for this round of internet-beaming satellites.

When it does launch, it will mark the 13th round of Starlink satellites for SpaceX’s constellation. The constellation is part of Musk’s plan to create a space-based internet using a network of, eventually, up to 42,000 satellites. The concept is that the satellites will provide internet signal to anywhere in the world, even in remote areas.

However, SpaceX isn’t the only company with plans of providing the internet this way. Amazon, OneWeb and Samsung also have similar plans to create a space-based internet but SpaceX is the furthest along in its internet business plan.

There are still two more rocket launches planned in the next two days.

ULA’s launch of a national security payload for the National Reconnaissance Office has faced several delays in the past month. The Delta IV Heavy rocket was set to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 37 just after midnight Monday but the company said it is working an issue with the swing arm retraction system.

“Working an issue with the hydraulic system that retracts the swing arm,” ULA CEO Tory Burn said in a tweet. “Bird and payload remain healthy.”

The company was targeting Tuesday at 12:02 a.m. for liftoff but that attempt was called off due to unfavorable weather conditions. The launch has been rescheduled for 11:58 p.m. Tuesday.

Space Force Weather forecasters are predicting a 40% chance of favorable launch weather for the heavy lift rocket. If the liftoff delays, weather conditions improve to 80% on Wednesday and Thursday.

SpaceX is targeting Wednesday at 9:55 p.m. to launch a GPS satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

Check back for updates during the countdown and watch the launch live at the top of this story.

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