A United Launch Alliance Delta IV heavy rocket will launch the next National Reconnaissance Office payload from Cape Canaveral in August.

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Technical problems forced the United Launch Alliance to again delay an upcoming launch of the Delta IV Heavy missile from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the company said on Saturday.

“The team needs additional time to test and evaluate the swing arm’s retraction system,” said ULA of the 24-hour delay from early Sunday to early Monday. “Since we believe in security first and are committed to mission success, we take the time to thoroughly review the data and determine the appropriate path forward.”

The teams in Launch Complex 37 will target shortly after midnight on Monday at the earliest. An exact start time has not yet been set.

This mission, which is tasked with launching a communications satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, was delayed and cleaned up several times from the end of August due to a number of hardware problems. Most of them are faulty ground support devices like the swing arm system, pneumatics, and pressure regulators.

If ULA’s latest schedule is in place, the Space Force expects 70% weather conditions during the window. Thick and cumulus clouds are the main problems with take-off.

The Space Coast is trying to make three launches before the end of the month, but Delta IV Heavy’s delays also lead to two upcoming SpaceX missions. This last shift means a Falcon 9 mission with 60 Starlink satellites is expected to launch at Kennedy Space Center around 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

A second Falcon 9 in Launch Complex 40 should then fly on Tuesday at 9:55 p.m. with a satellite of the Global Positioning System for the Space Force. However, as of Saturday afternoon, it was not known whether SpaceX had to postpone this mission to late Wednesday or not.

You can find the latest and most up-to-date start calendar at

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Contact Emre Kelly at [email protected] or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly. Support his space journalism by signing up at

Start Monday, September 28th

  • Missile: United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy
  • Mission: Classified satellite of the National Reconnaissance Bureau
  • Start time: just after midnight
  • Launch Complex: 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

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