US spy satellite launch delayed a week after abort in final seconds

The launch of a new U.S. spy satellite on a huge Delta IV Heavy rocket has been delayed not less than a week after a last-minute abort prevented an tried liftoff early Saturday (Aug. 29). The abort occurred simply three seconds earlier than the deliberate launch of the clandestine NROL-44 satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 3:28 a.m. EDT (0728 GMT), in accordance with the United Launch Alliance, which constructed the heavy-lift Delta IV Heavy. The rocket’s triple-core first stage briefly fired up its three foremost engines, engulfing the booster’s base in flames earlier than flickering out in the abort. “3, 2, 1 and liftoff!” ULA commentator Dillon Rice mentioned because the engines fired. A couple of seconds later, it was clear one thing went mistaken because the Delta IV Heavy remained on the pad of its Space Launch Complex 37B. “And standby, we’ve obviously had a hotfire abort,” Dillon mentioned.Related: Meet the Delta rocket household of the United Launch Alliance Video from the launch pad confirmed exhaust billowing up the 235-foot-tall (72 meters) rocket after its engines shut down.”The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy carrying the NROL-44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office was scrubbed today due to an unexpected condition during terminal count at approximately three seconds before liftoff,” representatives with ULA, which is a collaboration of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, mentioned in a assertion. “The team is currently reviewing all data and will determine the path forward. The required recycle time prior to the next launch attempt is seven days minimum.”ULA president and CEO Tory Bruno mentioned on Twitter that the Delta IV Heavy and its payload are in good condition.”The bird is in good health,” Bruno wrote. “This was an automatic abort during the ignition sequence. Cause appears to have been in the ground system. System functioned as intended to protect the vehicle and payload.”The NROL-44 satellite on the Delta IV Heavy is a categorised payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees U.S. spy satellite operations. Its precise goal and design are unknown. The Delta IV Heavy rocket is ULA’s strongest booster and might launch payloads of as much as 62,540 lbs. (28,370 kilograms) to low Earth orbit and satellites as much as 30,440 lbs. (13,810 kg) to geostationary orbit.Saturday’s launch abort is the second launch delay for the NROL-44 mission. A deliberate launch early Thursday (Aug. 27) was postponed on account of a difficulty with floor gear on the launch pad.Email Tariq Malik at [email protected] or comply with him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.

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