CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – A new US spy satellite will launch into space early Saturday (September 27th) on the most powerful rocket built by the United Landing Alliance (ULA): the massive Delta IV Heavy.
The booster is scheduled to explode overnight at 12:10 a.m. EDT (0410 GMT) from site 37 here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to transport the classified NROL-44 satellite into orbit for the National Intelligence Service (NRO). You can watch all the fiery actions live online, with the kind assistance of ULA. Launch coverage will begin about 20 minutes before takeoff and you can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage or directly via the ULA webcast.
The mission was postponed nearly a month after a rare, final second abortion at the launch site on August 29th. According to the ULA, the launch window lasts about 94 minutes.
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This will be the third attempt to remove NROL-44 from the ground. Hardware problems plagued the previous two attempts to launch the Delta IV Heavy, with a rare abortion called three seconds before takeoff on August 29. The three main engines of the rocket are programmed to ignite in sequential sequence, as the first illumination of the right engine.
The ULA determined the reason for being with ground-based system equipment that controls the rocket̵
The company’s president and CEO Tori Bruno said the root cause of the regulator’s problem was a broken diaphragm and that the company would replace any regulator due to a plethora of precautions.
The scheduled take-off on Saturday marks the 12th flight of the Delta IV Heavy rocket since its debut in 2004 and will include one of only five remaining Delta IV missiles. ULA plans to withdraw the starter before launching its next generation, Volcanic centaur. (ULA previously withdrew Delta II rocket in 2018 and his Delta IV Medium in 2019)
Shortly before the launch countdown begins, the 330-foot (100-meter) shroud surrounding the rocket – called the Mobile Service Tower, or MST – will retreat, exposing the colossal ship. Consisting of three hydrogen-reinforced primary common core amplifiers (which are connected by belts) and a cryogenic second stage, the Delta IV Heavy is 71 m high and measures approximately 16 m.
The Delta IV Heavy is currently the most powerful missile in the ULA fleet. Powered by 465,000 gallons (1.76 million liters) of supercooled liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, the mega launcher generates more than 2 million pounds of thrust.
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Of the previous 11 heavy Delta IV missions, seven carried NRO payloads. Some of the vehicle’s other notable missions have launched NASA Orion capsule on an unfolded test flight to Earth orbit in 2014 and the agency Parker solar probe in 2018 on a mission to study the sun.
All five of the remaining Delta IV Heavy launches will support NRO missions. Three will start from the nose, including this one, and another two will start from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
NRO’s massive payloads are designed to be installed on their missiles (as opposed to horizontal) and because of their bulk, launching one is similar to launching a school bus. For this reason, military officials say the Delta IV Heavy is the only starter on the market today that can meet their needs.
But the Delta IV Heavy is not the only heavy-duty vehicle on the market.
SpaceX it also has a heavy-duty lift – the Falcon Heavy – but uses horizontal technology to integrate its missiles and payloads. In addition, the Delta IV Heavy payload fairing (or nose cone) is larger than the Falcon Heavy, allowing Delta to better accommodate massive NRO satellites.
whatever Falcon Heavy rocket has one advantage over Delta: its total price. The Falcon Heavy can lift heavier loads in space for significantly less than the Delta IV Heavy, as seen from desired launch contract worth $ 130 million – approximately half the price of Delta – which was awarded to SpaceX in 2018 to launch a future military cargo.
OnAug. 7, announced the Ministry of Defense that ULA and SpaceX will share starting commitments for military launches by 2027. ULA received 60% of the contracts, with SpaceX receiving the remaining 40%.
The ULA will rely on its upcoming Vulcan Centaur rocket to launch these missions, while SpaceX will split responsibilities between the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy. Expected to go online next year, Vulcan Centaur will have the same vertical integration capabilities as Delta; however, to become more competitive and to better adapt the military payload, SpaceX plans to offer vertical integration options in the future, as well as an extended fairing for its Falcon Heavy rocket.
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