Delta IV Heavy launch from Cape Canaveral


Delta IV Heavy launch from Cape Canaveral

After being delayed half a dozen times the giant Delta IV Heavy rocket lifted off from the Space Coast on Thursday.The Delta IV Heavy is three rockets bolted together as one. It’s the only launcher big enough to take the country’s largest spy satellites upright into its nose cone.The one that took off from launch pad 37 at the Cape was initially expected to launch about six months ago, in June. Its various delays, including six that came close to launch time, were climaxed by a heart-stopping abort seconds before liftoff. Many of the problems were with ground equipment on its aging launch complex, which dates back to 1959. The rocket’s builder, United Launch Alliance, has spent the past several weeks addressing those problems. But the rocket itself is an older-technology model, rarely used anymore, and with only a half-dozen more launches in store before it is permanently retired. Older or not, the National Reconnaissance Office – the US’s spy satellite agency, needs the Delta IV Heavy. One of its satellite types is an eavesdropping bird that has an antenna the size of a football field. Thursday’s launch was delayed almost two hours because of prelaunch preparations that took longer than expected. The Delta IV Heavy took off at 8:09 p.m.

After being delayed half a dozen times the giant Delta IV Heavy rocket lifted off from the Space Coast on Thursday.

The Delta IV Heavy is three rockets bolted together as one. It’s the only launcher big enough to take the country’s largest spy satellites upright into its nose cone.

The one that took off from launch pad 37 at the Cape was initially expected to launch about six months ago, in June. Its various delays, including six that came close to launch time, were climaxed by a heart-stopping abort seconds before liftoff.

Many of the problems were with ground equipment on its aging launch complex, which dates back to 1959.

The rocket’s builder, United Launch Alliance, has spent the past several weeks addressing those problems.

But the rocket itself is an older-technology model, rarely used anymore, and with only a half-dozen more launches in store before it is permanently retired.

Older or not, the National Reconnaissance Office – the US’s spy satellite agency, needs the Delta IV Heavy.

One of its satellite types is an eavesdropping bird that has an antenna the size of a football field.

Thursday’s launch was delayed almost two hours because of prelaunch preparations that took longer than expected. The Delta IV Heavy took off at 8:09 p.m.


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