UPDATE (Dec.20 11:30 A.M.): The United Launch Alliance has again postponed the launch of the Delta IV Heavy rocket.
ULA has yet to comment on the exact reasons for the postponement of December 19’s launch but said another attempt would be made after it was scheduled to take place at 5:31 P.M. Thursday, December 20.
Launch Alert: we have declared a scrub for today's launch of the #DeltaIVHeavy. We will set up for a 24 hour recycle and the next launch attempt will be 12/20 at 5:31pm PST.
— ULA (@ulalaunch) December 20, 2018
UPDATE (Dec. 19 10:12 A.M.): The Delta IV rocket launch, which was supposed to happen Tuesday, December 18, has also been delayed due to high winds, according to the United Launch Alliance (ULA).
The rocket launch is now scheduled for Wednesday, December 19 at 5:44 P.M., the agency said. The team has tried two times to launch the rocket earlier this month, but both times were foiled by technical glitches.
— ULA (@ulalaunch) December 18, 2018
Original Story: Both SpaceX and Blue Origin were forced to postpone launches that had been scheduled to take place Tuesday, December 18 due to weather and other delays. Both companies say they will look at moving their launches to Wednesday, December 19.
SpaceX said an abort order was triggered by the flight computer onboard the Falcon 9 rocket. Paired with an earlier delay due to upper-level winds, the slowdown pushed the rocket past its launch window, according to The Verge.
Blue Origin said its launch was scrubbed due to what the company calls a “ground infrastructure issue.” Blue Origin said the rocket remains ready.
ULA’s Delta IV Heavy is currently the only rocket still scheduled to fly at 5:57 P.M, although it also went through two delays.
We are go for launch! The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) was completed this morning. At the conclusion of the meeting, senior leaders were polled and gave a unanimous “go” for launch. https://t.co/wLoggekye0
— ULA (@ulalaunch) December 17, 2018
The rocket will launch a top-secret payload–a National Reconnaissance Office spacecraft–into orbit for a mission dubbed NROL-71, according to The Tribune.
“We are proud to launch this critical payload in support of our nation’s national security mission,” ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs Gary Wentz said in a news release. “As the nation’s premier launch provider, the teams have worked diligently to ensure continued mission success, delivering our customer’s payloads to the precise orbits requested.”
ULA has carried out 27 launches for the National Reconnaissance Office over the past 12 years. ULA is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, according to NBC.
Now, clear skies and northwest winds at 10 to 15 mph are forecast for the launch site.
Delta IV Heavy Rocket Launch Live Stream
Date: No earlier than Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018
Location: Space Launch Complex 6, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Live Stream: Check out ULA’s website for the Live countdown and launch