Spaceflight Insider

Weather delays Delta IV Heavy launch

United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 37 with NROL-37 classified payload. Photo Credit Mike Howard / SpaceFlight Insider

Photo Credit: Mike Howard / SpaceFlight Insider

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Foul weather postponed today’s planned launch of a Delta IV Heavy with a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

Throughout the nearly five-hour launch window, the team continued to wait for better weather, ultimately proceeding into the final countdown for a 5:58 p.m. EDT (21:58 GMT) liftoff—and the end of the window. At 5:57 p.m. EDT (21:57 GMT), with no improvement in the weather, the launch window ended and, therefore, today’s launch attempt was scrubbed. The rocket and its classified NRO payload remain secure on the pad.

The 45th Weather Squadron had predicted the odds of acceptable weather conditions at the time of launch to be only about 40 percent. Liftoff was expected to have occurred at about 1:59 p.m. EDT (17:59 GMT); however, after numerous delays, the launch was called off due to rain, cumulus clouds, and anvil clouds with electric potential (lightning).

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) team currently plans to try again at 1:51 p.m. EDT (17:51 GMT) Saturday, June 11. The probability of acceptable weather at the time of launch is expected to be about 60 percent with the only concerns being cumulus clouds and lightning.

When it does launch, it will be only the ninth time that the heavy version of the Delta IV has launched—the first since December 2014 (with NASA’s Exploration Flight Test 1 Orion spacecraft). Overall, 32 rockets in the Delta IV family have launched since 2002.

Member of the media looks out at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 37 at the ULA Delta IV Heavy with NROL-37. Photo Credit: Mike Deep / SpaceFlight Insider

SpaceFlight Insider’s Michael Howard looks out at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37 at the ULA Delta IV Heavy with NROL-37. Photo Credit: Mike Deep / SpaceFlight Insider


Derek Richardson is a student studying mass media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He is currently the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also writes a blog, called Orbital Velocity, about the space station. His passion for space ignited when he watched space shuttle Discovery leap to space on Oct. 29, 1998. He saw his first in-person launch on July 8, 2011 when the space shuttle launched for the final time. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized that his true calling was communicating to others about space exploration and spreading that passion.

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