Despite the rollout of an Atlas V rocket Monday afternoon, United Launch Alliance delayed its planned Election Day launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Teams at Launch Complex 41 were slightly delayed in rolling the 206-foot rocket out to its pad, but it successfully made the 1,800-foot trek from the vertical integration facility by 1:30 p.m. Monday. ULA had been targeting Tuesday evening, but now plans on launching at 5:54 p.m. Wednesday.
“Upon arriving at the launch pad we experienced an upper payload environmental control system flow rate reduction,” ULA said in a statement. “The team is in the process of rolling the Atlas V back to the vertical integration facility to complete troubleshooting. The vehicle and payload are healthy.”
Company CEO Tory Bruno said on Twitter that powerful winds at the pad may have caused damage to that environmental control system hardware.
“Spacecraft is fine, but need to check it out,” Bruno said.
Encapsulated in the rocket’s payload fairing is NROL-101, a secretive intelligence-gathering satellite owned and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office. Despite the NRO’s secretive nature, its expensive – usually north of $1 billion – satellites are known for offering powerful imagery and data collection capabilities.
Also on the range’s schedule this week is a SpaceX Falcon 9 tasked with launching a previously scrubbed Global Positioning System satellite for the Space Force. Teams at Launch Complex 40 are targeting between 6:20 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. Thursday for liftoff.
See floridatoday.com/launchschedule for our most up-to-date information.