US spy satellite launch postponed 3 seconds before takeoff

United Launch Alliance canceled the launch of the Delta IV Heavy super-heavy rocket three seconds before launch due to engine problems. The device was supposed to send a secret spy satellite into orbit.

3 seconds before the launch of the Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle, the launch was interrupted – the engines of the device first started working, and then quickly turned off. The United Launch Alliance (ULA) noted that it was this “unexpected condition” that caused the start to stop. ULA CEO Tori Bruno noted that the device is in order, but the company will need at least a week to analyze all the data and try again.

The company planned to launch its most powerful rocket from Cape Kaneral to send a spy satellite from the United States National Aerospace Intelligence Agency (NRO). This one of three launches, SpaceX will launch two more rockets shortly thereafter.

The Delta IV Heavy consists of three parts that are connected together to provide extra thrust. This is one of the most powerful missiles in the world. ULA only uses the Delta IV Heavy in exceptional cases – it’s an expensive vehicle, and the company uses the rocket for large, heavy satellites that need to be launched into ultra-high orbits.

At the same time, the launch of the satellite has already been postponed several times: initially it was supposed to be launched on Thursday, August 27, but the launch was postponed – first to Friday, and then to Saturday. The NROL-44 mission is of a secret nature, and therefore, traditionally for such launches, the broadcast was stopped shortly after the cancellation of the launch of the launch vehicle.

The next launch attempt will take place in at least a week. The first launch of the Delta IV Heavy rocket was performed in 2004. This member of the Delta IV family can put up to 28 thousand kg of payload into low reference orbit.