United Launch Alliance’s Delta 4-Heavy rocket is revealed late Wednesday with the removal of the mobile gantry on pad 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Credit: United Launch Alliance
United Launch Alliance early Thursday delayed the launch of a triple-core Delta 4-Heavy rocket — the largest launcher in the company’s fleet — until Friday to allow engineers more time to resolve an issue with a ground pneumatics control system.
The launch company planned to fire the Delta 4-Heavy rocket into space at 2:12 a.m. EDT (0612 GMT) from Cape Canaveral with a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency.
But the ULA launch team halted the countdown to give technicians time to troubleshoot an issue with a nose cone heater. Ground crews replaced two blown fuses associated with the heater to fix that problem.
But engineers studying a separate snag with a “critical ground pneumatics control system” could not resolve the problem in time to resume the Delta 4’s countdown, fuel the rocket and proceed with the launch before the closure of Thursday’s roughly four-hour launch window.
ULA said the team needs additional time to evaluate and resolve the issue with the pneumatics ...