The United Launch Alliance (ULA) is making final preparations for the launch of its high-powered Delta IV Heavy rocket late Friday, August 28th.
Mission NROL-44 was scheduled to leave Cape Canaveral, Florida Thursday morning, but the countdown clock had to stop while the team worked to resolve an issue on the launchpad. A short time later, the startup process was aborted for the day after another technical problem was discovered that could not be resolved within the remaining four-hour startup window.
Friday's mission will launch a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the US government's intelligence satellite agency.
The launch marks the 141st mission for ULA and the 29th for the NGO. It's also the 385th Delta launch since 1960, the 12th Delta IV Heavy, and the 8th Heavy for the NGO, the Colorado-based company said.
The fantastic rocket has three booster cores for extra power to bring the satellite into higher orbit. It is the largest rocket in the ULA fleet and the second most powerful rocket in service today after SpaceX's Falcon Heavy.
When is the start?
According to weather forecasts, there is an 80% chance that conditions are favorable for takeoff. As long as all other preparations go as planned, ULA's Delta IV Heavy will launch from Complex 37 in Cape Canaveral on Friday, August 29 at 11:04 p.m. PT, with the launch window open until 3:25 a.m. PT. Check ULA's Twitter and Facebook accounts for the latest updates.
How to watch
ULA will start its livestream of the launch approximately 10 minutes before the launch. Check the real-time feed at the top of this page or visit ULA's YouTube channel for information.