Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Launch of military satellite from Cape delayed a day

Thursday's launch is scheduled minutes after sunset. Credit: Pat Corkery/United Launch Alliance

This week's planned launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral has been pushed back by a day to Thursday. The rocket carrying a military communications satellite is now targeting liftoff at 8:27 p.m. Thursday, the opening of a 32-minute window. The official forecast shows a 40 percent chance of favorable weather conditions.

ULA crews will replace an avionics box that controls the rocket's RS-68 main engine.

A similar engine control unit experienced a problem during testing for a different launch. The replacement unit has been tested and confirmed not to have the same problem. 

Atop the rocket is the second in a new generation of Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft, called WGS-5.

The WGS program provides the Department of Defense's highest-capacity communications satellites.

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