CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL – A high powered military communications satellite for the US Air Force is now slated for launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket on Thursday evening, July 23, following a scrub called on Wednesday due to powerful thunderstorms passing too close to the Cape Canaveral launch pad in Florida.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms within range of the Delta IV launch pad at Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, forced ULA to scrub the blastoff originally set for Wednesday, July 22.
Due to deteriorating weather, ULA technicians were had to stop processing the rocket for launch and were unable to fuel the propellant tanks. Predicted high winds were also a factor in the launch scrub.
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The Delta IV liftoff with the Wideband Global SATCOM 7 (WGS 7) satellite was reset for Thursday, July 23, at 8:07 p.m. EDT
The window extends for 39 minutes until 8:46 p.m. EDT.
You can watch the Delta launch live on a ULA webcast that starts at 7:47 p.m. EDT here:
The weather forecast for Thursday July 23, calls for a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather conditions at launch time.
The $570 million WGS 7 satellite is part of a significant upgraded constellation of high capacity communications satellites providing enhanced communications capabilities to American troops in the field for the next two decades.
“WGS enables more robust and flexible execution of Command and Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence,Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), as well as battle management and combat support information functions,” according to ULA.
The Delta IV Medium+ rocket will launch in a 5,4 configuration with a 5-meter diameter payload fairing and four solid rocket motors augmenting the first stage core powered by a single RS-68 main engine.
The RS-68 burns cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen which generates about 702,000 lbf of thrust at sea level.
Fueling of the rocket has begun!
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.