Delta IV Rocket Launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base called off Thursday

14 January, 2018, 00:28 | Author: Patty Aguilar
  • The United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket blasts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday afternoon

But spy satellites launched into polar orbits are typically used for photo or radar reconnaissance, able to observe targets anywhere in the world as the planet rotates below.

The top secret NRO missions are generally classified - so it is unclear what specifically the satellite will be doing on its orbit around earth.

The rocket was supposed to launch on Wednesday but high winds and then equipment problems caused several delays. The company has already carried out 26 launches for NRO.

Because of the secretive nature of the mission, not much is known about the NROL-47 payload. Orbital ATK produced the solid rocket motors at its facilities in Magna and Clearfield, Utah, where it has manufactured GEM-60s for the Delta IV launch vehicle since the initial flight in 2002. "My honest thanks to the entire ULA team and our mission partners at the NRO and U.S. Air Force who made this, our 27th NRO launch, possible".

As usual with classified payloads, no details about the NROL-47 satellite were released. The main engine of the Delta IV is the RS-68A, manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday afternoon
The United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday afternoon

There's an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for the Friday afternoon launch, United Launch Alliance said on Twitter.

The launch will happen at Space Launch Complex-6, which sits about 140 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.

The Delta IV launch system is available in five configurations: the Delta IV Medium (Delta IV M), three variants of the Delta IV Medium-Plus (Delta IV M+), and the Delta IV Heavy (Delta IV H). "This will be the first of two launches scheduled for NRO in 2018".

Col. Greg Wood, 30th Space Wing vice commander, was the launch commander.

"We are proud to provide this national defence capability and every Team V member involved has tirelessly worked to ensure the launch is safe and successful".


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