CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – *** UPDATE 12:03 a.m. Oct. 1, 2020 Update***
ULA officials announced another scrub for the planned launch Thursday night. Officials said the liftoff was called off at t-minus seven seconds when “an unexpected condition” was detected prior to engine startup.
Teams are reviewing all data and ULA has not set a new launch date yet.
After four scrubs, will Wednesday’s attempt be the one to successfully launch a national security payload on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy? Delays are always possible with rocket launches but the company’s next attempt will benefit from improved weather conditions.
The last two tries to lift off with the National Reconnaissance Office secretive satellite known as NROL-44 were delayed due to weather as thunderstorms surrounded the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 37. Additional attempts were called off due to technical issues with the launchpad ground system and then the swing arm retraction system connecting the rocket to the launch tower.
“Part on hand, repair underway,” ULA CEO Tory Bruno said in a tweet Tuesday about an issue with the mobile service tower. “However, the earlier lighting hold ate up so much of the launch window that we will not be able to continue towards a launch tonight.”
ULA plans to try again Wednesday at 11:54 p.m. Forecasters with the Space Force are giving the launch window a 70% chance of favorable weather. A cold front that moved in overnight into Wednesday, bringing drier weather to Central Florida.
It’s still possible lingering cloud cover could be an issue for the launch, according to the 45th Weather Squadron.
SpaceX is also working to launch two rockets this week. Both launches are tentative based on ULA’s launch happening first.
SpaceX plans to launch another round of Starlink satellites to build its space-based internet constellation. It’s possible SpaceX could launch 60 Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday at 9:17 a.m.
Forecasters with the 45th Weather Squadron are predicting a 70% chance of good conditions for liftoff.
Targeting Thursday, October 1 at 9:17 a.m. EDT for launch of Starlink. Due to a conflict on the Range, now targeting launch of GPS III-4 on Friday, October 2; 15-min window opens at 9:43 p.m. EDT pic.twitter.com/VVhhatjBbh— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 30, 2020
On Friday, SpaceX is aiming to launch a Falcon 9 rocket with an Air Force GPS satellite, known as GPS III, from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX said in a tweet the company is targeting after 9:43 p.m. during a two-hour launch window.
Both of those rocket boosters will land on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean to be recovered and flown again.