Weather Looks Good for Dinnertime Launch Oft Delayed ULA Delta IV Heavy Spysat Dec 10: Photos

Weather Looks Good for Dinnertime Launch Oft Delayed ULA Delta IV Heavy Spysat Dec 10: Photos
ULA Delta IV Heavy launch now targets Dec. 10, 2020.  Post-abort scene of ULA Delta IV Heavy still sitting atop Space Launch Complex-37 with top secret NROL-44 spysat after scrub automatically called at T Minus 7 seconds for a ‘sensor issue’ by terminal countdown sequencer rack TCSR on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station – before planned liftoff 11;54 a.m. ET Sept. 30, 2020.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FL – Weather is looking very good for the dinnertime launch of the oft delayed United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket hosting a top secret spy satellite payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) on Thursday, Dec. 10, from Florida’s spaceport.

To date the launch of this triple barreled ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket has been scrubbed five times in August and September for a variety of reasons related to both the weather but more often related to rocket and ground systems issues at the pad 37 complex on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

“No open issues. Pgo at 90%. L44 is looking good,” tweeted ULA CEO Tory Bruno.

ULA Delta IV Heavy launch now targets Dec. 10, 2020. Stunning pre-sunrise but post-abort scene of ULA Delta IV Heavy still sitting atop Space Launch Complex-37 with top secret NROL-44 spysat after scrub automatically called at T Minus 7 seconds for a ‘sensor issue’ by terminal countdown sequencer rack TCSR on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

“Everything is progressing toward the ULA Delta IV Heavy launch carrying the NROL-44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office,” ULA confirmed.

“Leadership from ULA, the National Reconnaissance Office and the Space Force today held the Launch Readiness Review (LRR) for the NROL-44 mission by a Delta IV Heavy rocket. The meeting concluded with a unanimous “ready” to begin Thursday’s countdown.”

The forecast shows a 90 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch.

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) has been re-slated for 6:15 p.m. EDT (2315 GMT) Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020 from seaside Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida – following earlier scrubs for a hot fire abort, faulty ground launch pneumatic systems and the swing arm problem as well as weather.

ULA Delta IV Heavy launch now targets Dec. 10, 2020.  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. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

If all goes well this week would be an extremely busy one at the Cape with 3 rockets in total lifting off from Florida’s Space Coast.

The powerful ULA Delta IV Heavy would be followed on Friday with the SXM-7 radio satellite payload as the third of three launches this week, following the successful SpaceX CRS-21 Cargo Dragon launch completed Sunday, Dec. 6 and the looming, oft delayed ULA Delta IV Heavy launch targeted for Thursday evening Dec. 10 with a top secret spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

SpaceX conducts successful static fire test of Falcon 9 first stage engines at 6:00 p.m. EST on Dec. 7 with exhaust spewing out from the flame trench at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – for SiriusXM SXM-7 launch targeted for Dec. 11, 2020 – as seen from the Indian River, Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

SpaceX is targeting Friday, Dec. 11 at 11:20 a.m. EST (1620) for launch at the opening of a 2 hour window of the SMX-7 satellite from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida.

You can watch the Delta IV Heavy rocket launch live on a ULA webcast  beginning about 20 minutes before liftoff at 5:55 p.m. EST on Dec. 10., available at :

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

At the request of the NRO, live coverage will conclude after payload fairing jettison, approximately seven minutes into flight.

The weather odds for the ULA Delta IV Heavy are excellent at 90% GO for conditions at launch time on Thursday, Dec. 10.

The primary concern is the Cumulous Cloud Rule.

The weather odds for the SpaceX Falcon 9 are also very good at 80% GO for conditions at launch time on Friday, Dec. 11.

The primary concern is the Cumulous Cloud Rule.

ULA Delta IV Heavy launch now targets Dec. 10, 2020.  ULA Delta IV Heavy seen in the final minutes of terminal countdown before liftoff with burning hydrogen flame stack prior to 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. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about SpaceX Cargo and Crew Dragons, Starlink, Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew-1, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020, NRO spysats 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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ULA Delta IV Heavy launch now targets Dec. 10, 2020.  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. 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

 

 

ULA Delta IV Heavy launch now targets Dec. 10, 2020.  Post-abort scene of ULA Delta IV Heavy still sitting atop Space Launch Complex-37 with top secret NROL-44 spysat after scrub automatically called at T Minus 7 seconds for a ‘sensor issue’ by terminal countdown sequencer rack TCSR on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station – before planned liftoff 11;54 a.m. ET Sept. 30, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

 

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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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