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A United Launch Alliance Delta IV heavy rocket will launch the next National Reconnaissance Office payload from Cape Canaveral in August.

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Technical problems forced the United Launch Alliance to again delay an imminent launch of a Delta IV Heavy missile from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the company said Saturday.

“Additional time is needed for the team to test and evaluate the swing arm retraction system,” ULA said the delay of 24 hours from the first Sunday to the first Monday. “Because we believe in safety first and are dedicated to mission success, we are dedicated to thoroughly reviewing the data to determine the appropriate path to take.”

Launch Complex 37 teams will aim for no earlier than Monday, right after midnight. The exact take-off time had not yet been decided.

This mission, tasked with launching an intelligence satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, has been delayed and canceled several times since the end of August due to a series of hardware problems. Most involved faulty ground support equipment such as the swing arm system, pneumatics, and pressure regulators.

If the latest ULA schedule is valid, Space Force expects 70% of the weather conditions to “go” during the window. Thick clouds and mounds are the main concerns for take-off.

Space Coast is trying to adapt to three launches before the end of the month, but Delta IV Heavy delays are also pushing two upcoming SpaceX missions. This latest change means that a Falcon 9 mission with 60 Starlink satellites at the Kennedy Space Center will now likely be targeted at around 10:00 am Tuesday for its takeoff.

A second Falcon 9 at Launch Complex 40 was therefore to fly at 21:55. Tuesday with a Global Positioning System satellite for the Space Force. But as of Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t known whether or not SpaceX should push this mission to an end on Wednesday.

See the most recent and updated launch calendar at www.bit.ly/3czB11m.

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Contact Emre Kelly at aekelly@floridatoday.com or 321-242-3715. Follow him Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on @EmreKelly. Support his space journalism by signing up at floridatoday.com/specialoffer/.

Launch on Monday 28 September

  • Rocket: United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy
  • Mission: Satellite of the National Classified Reconnaissance Office
  • Launch time: immediately after midnight
  • Launch Complex: 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

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