ULA Delta Heavy launch postponed

Mere hours before one of the most powerful rockets in service was to launch from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station early Thursday, United Launch Alliance Director Lou Mangieri announced the mission had been called off and would be attempted again in 24 hours.

ULA said in a statement that the mission was scrubbed due to an unspecified problem with a critical ground pneumatics control system and that they require more time to evaluate the issue and resolve . "Another launch attempt will be possible in 24 hours," ULA said.

The launch has been rescheduled for 2:08 a.m. EDT on Friday from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral. Officials said the forecast shows an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch.

The Delta IV Heavy triple-engine rocket carrying a classified spy satellite for the U.S. Department of Defense was scheduled to launch at 2:12 a.m. EDT Thursday but after the countdown was placed on a scheduled 15-minute hold at T-minus 4 hours, 15 minutes, it would not be restarted.

Anomaly chief Dave McFarland said in his out brief to the mission management team that additional time will be required to study the pneumatics issue.

The Delta IV Heavy triple-engine launcher is one of the world's most powerful rockets, creating a collective 2.2 million pounds of thrust, which compares to SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, the most powerful of today's rockets, with 3.4 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.

Named after the fourth version of the Delta rocket, the Delta IV Heavy was developed to launch for the reconnaissance office, U.S. Space Force and NASA. It also launched NASA's Orion capsule in a 2014 test flight and sent the Parker Solar Probe into the sun's outer atmosphere.

ULA plans only three more Delta IV Heavy launches from Florida -- including this week's launch -- and two more from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. After that, the company plans to use its Vulcan rocket, which is under development.

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