A Delta IV Heavy rocket launch was canceled due to unfavorable weather conditions.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) began fueling the 236-foot tall rocket with liquid oxygen and super-cold liquid hydrogen at around 10:25 a.m. EDT at the Launch Complex 37 of the Air Force as preparation for the 1:59 p.m. EDT launch when the weather forecast was about 40 percent favorable. The launch was delayed several times and was eventually scrapped due to bad weather.
The giant rocket manufactured by ULA was scheduled to bring a covert spy satellite into space for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Touted as NROL-37 mission, the rocket is supposed to remain a classified operation because it operates under a national security mission. The 15,000-pound payload is said to be an eavesdropping satellite, which will hover around 22,000 miles from the equator.
The mission patch attached to it, according to NRO, reads: "a knight standing in front of the U.S. flag in a defensive posture. The eagle on the chest represents freedom."
Hands up launch fans! ULA’s Delta IV Heavy – the largest rocket currently launching – is slated to launch the #NROL37 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office! Launch is planned for 1:59 pm EDT, and the webcast starts at 1:39 pm at the website in our profile. Will you be watching? #Space #RocketsOfInstagram #DiscoverULA
A photo posted by United Launch Alliance (@ulalaunch) on Jun 7, 2016 at 1:29pm PDT
In support to the classified mission, the ULA did not reveal details of the mission, such as a full window of the initial scheduled launch. The ULA also plans to black out broadcast 5 minutes before the supposed launch. On its website, the ULA describes the mission "in support of national defense."
Spacecraft observers who have followed many NRO missions speculate that the satellite is a Mentor or Advanced Orion, which is capable of eavesdropping.
Delta IV Heavy Rocket
NRO is a frequent customer of Delta IV rocket. The blastoff is supposed to be the 32nd launch for the rocket since its debut in 2002 and the 10th time the agency will use the giant rocket.
The Delta IV Heavy rocket has two boosters attached to the sides of a single main rocket core and is capable of thrusting 30,000 pounds of geosynchronous orbit.
Its last flight was in 2014 when it brought a NASA and Lockheed Martin Orion prototype crew capsule in orbit. It has also previously carried two Air Force spy satellites, which were meant to monitor threats to other military satellites in space. That flight was also delayed four times due to bad weather conditions.
The Delta IV Heavy rocket, which was delayed for five days already, will try to relaunch on Saturday, June 11 at 1:51 p.m. EDT, with live broadcast starting 1:31 p.m. EDT.