ULA readies for space launch

Delta IV NROL-37 rocket scheduled for June 9

By Jan Wondra

If tropical storm Collin moved further up the East Coast this week as was predicted, June 9 was to see the launch of the Delta IV NROL-37 rocket, which has direct roots in Colorado. The rocket, referred to as a ULA Delta IV, is the product of United Launch Alliance based in Centennial. The mission was set to lift off from Space Launch Complex 37 (SLC-37) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The payload is classified, according to ULA spokeswoman Lyn Chassagne.

“The client is the National Reconnaissance Office or NRO. So we can’t talk about it,” she said.

This is the 32nd mission for a Delta IV since its inception in 2002 and the 10th NRO mission to launch on a Delta IV. This week’s launch was scheduled for 1:59 p.m. EDT (17:59 GMT) at the Space Launch Complex (SLC)-37 at Cape Canaveral.

Such launches can be watched on live webcast beginning 20 minutes before lift-off at ulalaunch.com. To keep up to speed with updates to the launch countdown, call the ULA launch hotline at 1-877-852-4321 or join the conversation at facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch; hashtags #NROL37 and #DeltaIV.

The three-day-out forecast showed a 40 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch. A primary concern, says Chassagne, is that even though the storm was moving north, thick clouds and lightning were possible delay factors. NASA ranked the chances of weather constraints on the launch at 20 percent.

This was only the first of scheduled ULA launches this month. ULA also has a June 24 launch scheduled for one its Atlas V rocket scheduled. The payload for that launch has not yet been released.

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