Continuing Poor Weather Scrubs 2 Space Coast Launches by SpaceX and ULA Just 13 Hours Apart, NRO Spysat Reset to late Sept. 29: Photos

Poor weather scrubs SpaceX Falcon 9 launch as seen from KSC LC-39 Press Site moments before planned launch at 10:22 a.m. ET Sept. 28, 2020. NASA Worm logo still featured on side of recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 booster B1058.3 that previously flew on Demo-2 carrying NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley to ISS in May 2020. Recycled Falcon 9 for 13th Starlink comsat launch stands vertical at Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for launch scrubbed on Sept. 28, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Continuing a string of bad luck the past few days harkening back to the endless repetitive time-loop dream ala ‘Groundhog Day’  the trio of back to back Space Coast rocket launches that had planned to light up the Central Florida skies reset to start just past midnight Monday morning from America’s two premier rocket makers United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX was again delayed  today – starting with the first two today when the first 2 launches were scrubbed and postponed barely 13 hours apart!

The oft weather delayed SpaceX Starlink mission was delayed just seconds before planned liftoff of the fully fueled Falcon 9 rocket at 10:22 a.m. ET Monday because the range was red for weather.

“Standing down from launch of Starlink due to weather; will announce a new target launch date once confirmed,” SpaceX tweeted.

We observed liquid oxygen LOX venting from the 2nd stage in the final minutes of the countdown.

2nd stage vents LOX minutes prior to poor weather scrub SpaceX Falcon 9 launch as seen from KSC LC-39 Press Site moments before planned launch at 10:22 a.m. ET Sept. 28, 2020. NASA Worm logo still featured on side of recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 booster B1058.3 that previously flew on Demo-2 carrying NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley to ISS in May 2020. Recycled Falcon 9 for 13th Starlink comsat launch stands vertical at Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for launch scrubbed on Sept. 28, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Late Monday evening ULA also announced a weather delay for the oft delayed ULA  Delta IV Heavy launch of a top secret spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) that was planned for midnight 12:02 a.m. Tuesday Sept. 29.

As a result the NRO spysat launch is now targeted for just before midnight Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Poor weather on Sept. 28 2020 scrubs launch of ULA Delta IV Heavy of launch NROL-44 spysat to orbit for the NRO from Space Launch Complex-37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch has been reset to late Sept. 29. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

“The launch of the United Launch Alliance #DeltaIVHeavy #NROL44 mission has been scrubbed due to weather. Launch is now scheduled for 11:58 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 29,” ULA tweeted.

 

 

Torrential rains, lightning and thunderstorms inundated Central Florida periodically all day Monday as the storm fronts move in.

Poor weather on Sept. 28 2020 scrubs launch of ULA Delta IV Heavy of launch NROL-44 spysat to orbit for the NRO from Space Launch Complex-37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch has been reset to late Sept. 29. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

In fact the gantry protecting the Delta IV Heavy rocket at pad 37 could not be rolled away because of nearby lightning that forced them to abandon their launch preparation efforts, said ULA and CEO Tory Bruno.

 

 

 

 

The mission has been reset to lift off nearly 24 hours later but still on Tuesday, Sept. 29 just before midnight since the launch time moves 4 minutes earlier per day.

Liftoff of the 23-story tall triple stick United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket on the NROL-44 intelligence gathering mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) could be re-slated for about 11:58 p.m. EDT (0358 GMT) Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 from seaside Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida – following the earlier scrubs for the hot fire abort and faulty ground launch pneumatic systems and the swing arm problem as well as weather.

The launch period runs until about 1:30 a.m. EDT (0530 GMT).

ULA Delta IV Heavy scrubs moments before liftoff after Hot Fire abort on pad at 3:28 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29, 2020. Will deliver NROL-44 spysat to orbit for U.S. National Reconnaissance Office from Space Launch Complex-37 is dramatically backdropped by Mobile Service Tower until aborted on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch has been reset to late Sept. 29.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

You can watch the Delta IV Heavy rocket launch live on a ULA webcast  beginning about 20 minutes before liftoff at 11:40 p.m. ET, available at :

www.ulalaunch.com and www.youtube.com/unitedlaunchalliance

U:A updates here: https://www.ulalaunch.com/missions/next-launch/delta-iv-heavy-nrol-44

The weather odds for the midnight liftoff are not good at only 40% GO for conditions at launch time.

Daylight post scrub view of ULA Delta IV Heavy after Hot Fire abort on pad at 3:28 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29, 2020 – as seen up close from historic pad 34 between flame deflectors. For launch NROL-44 spysat to orbit for the NRO from Space Launch Complex-37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch has been reset to late Sept. 29. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

“Today’s forecast shows a 40 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch. The launch time is 11:58 p.m. EDT,” tweeted ULA.

 

 

The primary concerns are the Thick Cloud Layer Rule, the Anvil Cloud Rule and the Cumulous Cloud Rule.

 

As a result what was the third launch of the bunch of a GPS navigation satellite for the U.S. Space Force was also delayed by 24 hours to Wednesday evening – but now moves up to the number 2 position – after the ULA Delta IV Heavy.

“Now targeting Wednesday, September 30 for Falcon 9’s launch of GPS III Space Vehicle 04 for improved launch and recovery weather,” SpaceX tweeted.

Unfortunately the weather odds are also not good for GPSIII SV04 at only 40% GO at this time

Both the NROL 44 and GPS satellite launches are for the US military

GPS serves a broad array of both civilian and military functions.

Daylight post scrub view of ULA Delta IV Heavy after Hot Fire abort on pad at 3:28 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29, 2020 – as seen up close from historic pad 34 that is slated to launch NROL-44 spysat to orbit for the NRO from Space Launch Complex-37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

Enjoy our Space UpClose gallery of images from the team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright.

Starlink still awaits a new day on the range but appears to be targeting Oct. 1 at this  earliest- pending the outcome of the first two launches.

SpaceX is potentially slated to launch the next Starlink comsat mission on a recycled Falcon 9 at 9:17 a.m. EDT Thursday morning, Oct. 1 from Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Stay tuned for further possible scrubs especially due to weather and schedule changes

 

Thus SpaceX will launch the fourth in a series of next generation GPS satellites on a newly manufactured Falcon 9 on Wednesday evening Sept. 29 at 9:51 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, FL.

The launch window for the GPSIII SV04 mission for the U.S. Space Force extends until 10:10 p.m.

“GPS III SV04 will join the current 31-satellite operational constellation to continue to provide the gold standard in positioning, navigation, and timing services for more than four billion users worldwide,” says the U.S. Space and Missile Command.

 

SpaceX will attempt to recover both Falcon 9 boosters on their 2 droneships

 

Watch my commentary at WFTV Channel 9 ABC TV News Orland in this Sept. 25/26 report about 3 upcoming Space Coast launches in 3 days by ULA and SpaceX

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/brevard-county/space-coast-could-see-three-rocket-launches-three-days/KBPD2XR4YZGJFBXCLXBG3VSK7Y/

Dr. Ken Kremer of Space UpClose interview with WFTV Ch 9 ABC TV News Orlando on Sept. 25, 2020 discusses 3 upcoming back to back rocket launches from Florida Space Coast

Watch my live interview discussion of current space missions and launches on Sept. 18 edition of  ‘Stay Curious’ daily space show presented by the American Space Museum, Titusville, FL.

 

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Starlink, Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Please consider supporting Ken’s work by donating at Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/kenkremer

 

 

 

NASA Worm logo still visible on side of recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 booster B1058.3 that previously flew on Demo-2 carrying NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley to ISS in May 2020. Heron awaits SpaceX Falcon 9 launch at KSC LC-39 Press Site – then flies away after SpaceX engineers call scrub as final countdown was to begin due to poor booster landing recovery weather in the Atlantic Ocean. Recycled Falcon 9 for 13th Starlink comsat launch stands vertical at Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for launch scrubbed from Sept. 17, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

NROL-44 mission artwork. Credit NRO/ULA

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Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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