The famous launch island, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, sees a favorable 90 percent good weather in time for Thursday night, December 10, for the United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Delta-IV rocket launch for its mission. The popular competitor of SpaceX would be pushing through for its scheduled NROL-44 Mission that would bring a payload from the NRO.
The joint venture of space and aircraft manufacturing giants, United Launch Alliance, would soon send off its Delta IV "Heavy" three-core rocket for its mission to bring a payload from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The launch would be ULA's 142nd mission and NRO's 30th mission towards the Earth's orbit.
According to Space Coast Daily, the launch is already seeing a 'go' and a green light for its Thursday launch, featuring the decades-old rocket lineup, which the country heavily relied on during its early days. The mission is slated to leave Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 37 on Thursday, December 10, 6:15 pm Eastern Time (3:13 pm Pacific Time).
The Delta rocket would soon complete its 385th launch since its first liftoff in the 1960s and the 12th for the Delta IV Heavy. The National Reconnaissance Office's Heavy launch would also be their eighth mission for its collaboration with ULA.
The rocket launch would have a four-hour window on Thursday night's launch, carrying the NRO's top-secret intelligence satellite. The company's Launch Readiness Review (LRR) status shows that the massive rocket is well-suited for its journey complemented by the excellent weather in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
NROL-44 Mission: Delta IV Heavy to Deliver Expensive Equipment in Orbit
The NROL-44 is one of the most complicated satellites to bring towards the planet's orbit, which the industry also considers as one of the most expensive. According to Florida Today, the crucial mission would help supply intelligence agencies, military, and national security with data and information needed for safety.
Delta IV's NROL-44 Mission is tasked with bringing the top tier satellite to NRO's existing constellation of orbiting satellites specializing in data gathering and reconnaissance. The top-secret mission is entrusted to ULA and its Delta IV Heavy rocket to secure payload delivery to orbit.
However, the mission was aborted five times already, during the year, due to technical issues, which notably happened last August and September. Three of the launch's previous attempts were problems of the Delta IV Heavy rocket itself, which the team previously assessed to be fixed and ready.
ULA vs. SpaceX: Rivalry for Both Space Tech Giants
The United Launch Alliance may have had the Delta IV, which was trusted for several decades by the US government, but SpaceX's reusable technology has cut the launch prices. Now, SpaceX is the first preferred vessel for resupply missions and the Commercial Crew program of NASA.
Boeing and Lockheed Martin's collaboration to form ULA is retaliation and venture to the space race industry, which most recently, SpaceX was leading.
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Written by Isaiah Alonzo