• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

Last second launch abort on Delta IV Heavy launch

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
1,825
Not often you see a launch abort at T-3 seconds especially on a Delta IV Heavy.

View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1299620681789906945


The launch of a United Launch Alliance #DeltaIVHeavy carrying the #NROL44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office was scrubbed today due to an unexpected condition during terminal count at approximately three seconds before liftoff.
View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1299620707685617664

The team is currently reviewing all data and will determine the path forward. The required recycle time prior to the next launch attempt is seven days minimum.
View: https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1299623698090135552
 

FighterJock

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Oct 29, 2007
Messages
1,467
Reaction score
283
Not often you see a launch abort at T-3 seconds especially on a Delta IV Heavy.

View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1299620681789906945


The launch of a United Launch Alliance #DeltaIVHeavy carrying the #NROL44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office was scrubbed today due to an unexpected condition during terminal count at approximately three seconds before liftoff.
View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1299620707685617664

The team is currently reviewing all data and will determine the path forward. The required recycle time prior to the next launch attempt is seven days minimum.
View: https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1299623698090135552
Not good news for United Launch Alliance, at least the rocket and the payload is safe. All we need now is a decision on another launch date.
 

E-V Bomber

CLEARANCE: Restricted
Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
16
Not often you see a launch abort at T-3 seconds especially on a Delta IV Heavy.

View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1299620681789906945


The launch of a United Launch Alliance #DeltaIVHeavy carrying the #NROL44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office was scrubbed today due to an unexpected condition during terminal count at approximately three seconds before liftoff.
View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1299620707685617664

The team is currently reviewing all data and will determine the path forward. The required recycle time prior to the next launch attempt is seven days minimum.
View: https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1299623698090135552
Not good news for United Launch Alliance, at least the rocket and the payload is safe. All we need now is a decision on another launch date.
Don’t really see the big deal here, it’s almost like you’ve never watched a D4H launch (eventually). It’s a very finicky and temperamental launch vehicle (despite being my favourite) that never goes off on the first attempt, nothing unusual here. It’s not like it’s payloads can fly on any other currently existing rocket.
 

Hobbes

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 9, 2008
Messages
828
Reaction score
192
Nothing especially outrageous, but clearly NOT a good advertising for ULA launch services.
Why not? A problem was found, and the correct action was taken to not jeopardize the payload. This was a demo of their contingency systems working as designed.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
1,825
Not often you see a launch abort at T-3 seconds especially on a Delta IV Heavy.

View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1299620681789906945


The launch of a United Launch Alliance #DeltaIVHeavy carrying the #NROL44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office was scrubbed today due to an unexpected condition during terminal count at approximately three seconds before liftoff.
View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1299620707685617664

The team is currently reviewing all data and will determine the path forward. The required recycle time prior to the next launch attempt is seven days minimum.
View: https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1299623698090135552
Not good news for United Launch Alliance, at least the rocket and the payload is safe. All we need now is a decision on another launch date.
Don’t really see the big deal here, it’s almost like you’ve never watched a D4H launch (eventually). It’s a very finicky and temperamental launch vehicle (despite being my favourite) that never goes off on the first attempt, nothing unusual here. It’s not like it’s payloads can fly on any other currently existing rocket.
I’ve never thought of it as being any more difficult a launch vehicle compared to other current launchers. Anyway it was the GSE not the launcher that caused this abort.
 
Last edited:

TomS

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
4,064
Reaction score
1,053
It’s not like it’s payloads can fly on any other currently existing rocket.
Doesn't the Falcon Heavy have similar if not greater throw capability?
It depends. Fully expendable, FH can put about twice as much weight into GTO (26.7 tons vs 14.2 tons). But if you want to fully recover FH, it can only manage 8 tons to GTO. Somewhere in the middle it should about equal DIVH, maybe with recovered side boosters but an expended core.

But that's only part of the story. Right now, SpaceX does not have a vertical integration capability, but many national security payloads require it. So until they build the new vertical integration facility (which is funded under the latest government launch contract) those payloads cannot fly on FH.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
1,825
It’s not like it’s payloads can fly on any other currently existing rocket.
Doesn't the Falcon Heavy have similar if not greater throw capability?
It depends. Fully expendable, FH can put about twice as much weight into GTO (26.7 tons vs 14.2 tons). But if you want to fully recover FH, it can only manage 8 tons to GTO. Somewhere in the middle it should about equal DIVH, maybe with recovered side boosters but an expended core.

But that's only part of the story. Right now, SpaceX does not have a vertical integration capability, but many national security payloads require it. So until they build the new vertical integration facility (which is funded under the latest government launch contract) those payloads cannot fly on FH.
In the Scott Manley video posted above he speculated that the reason for the high cost of one of the Air Force payloads maybe because it includes the development of vertical integration faculties & a stretched fairing for FH.
 

mkellytx

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
77
Reaction score
30
It’s not like it’s payloads can fly on any other currently existing rocket.
Doesn't the Falcon Heavy have similar if not greater throw capability?
It depends. Fully expendable, FH can put about twice as much weight into GTO (26.7 tons vs 14.2 tons). But if you want to fully recover FH, it can only manage 8 tons to GTO. Somewhere in the middle it should about equal DIVH, maybe with recovered side boosters but an expended core.

But that's only part of the story. Right now, SpaceX does not have a vertical integration capability, but many national security payloads require it. So until they build the new vertical integration facility (which is funded under the latest government launch contract) those payloads cannot fly on FH.
In the Scott Manley video posted above he speculated that the reason for the high cost of one of the Air Force payloads maybe because it includes the development of vertical integration faculties & a stretched fairing for FH.
Also could be that FH hasn't done enough missions yet to meet that customer's risk tolerance. One of the reservists I used to work with was a Shuttle guy and said that NASA would take risks with manned space flight that agency wouldn't accept...
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
1,825
It’s not like it’s payloads can fly on any other currently existing rocket.
Doesn't the Falcon Heavy have similar if not greater throw capability?
It depends. Fully expendable, FH can put about twice as much weight into GTO (26.7 tons vs 14.2 tons). But if you want to fully recover FH, it can only manage 8 tons to GTO. Somewhere in the middle it should about equal DIVH, maybe with recovered side boosters but an expended core.

But that's only part of the story. Right now, SpaceX does not have a vertical integration capability, but many national security payloads require it. So until they build the new vertical integration facility (which is funded under the latest government launch contract) those payloads cannot fly on FH.
In the Scott Manley video posted above he speculated that the reason for the high cost of one of the Air Force payloads maybe because it includes the development of vertical integration faculties & a stretched fairing for FH.
Also could be that FH hasn't done enough missions yet to meet that customer's risk tolerance. One of the reservists I used to work with was a Shuttle guy and said that NASA would take risks with manned space flight that agency wouldn't accept...
I am sure that it’s three flights were what the Air Force required.
 

mkellytx

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
77
Reaction score
30
It’s not like it’s payloads can fly on any other currently existing rocket.
Doesn't the Falcon Heavy have similar if not greater throw capability?
It depends. Fully expendable, FH can put about twice as much weight into GTO (26.7 tons vs 14.2 tons). But if you want to fully recover FH, it can only manage 8 tons to GTO. Somewhere in the middle it should about equal DIVH, maybe with recovered side boosters but an expended core.

But that's only part of the story. Right now, SpaceX does not have a vertical integration capability, but many national security payloads require it. So until they build the new vertical integration facility (which is funded under the latest government launch contract) those payloads cannot fly on FH.
In the Scott Manley video posted above he speculated that the reason for the high cost of one of the Air Force payloads maybe because it includes the development of vertical integration faculties & a stretched fairing for FH.
Also could be that FH hasn't done enough missions yet to meet that customer's risk tolerance. One of the reservists I used to work with was a Shuttle guy and said that NASA would take risks with manned space flight that agency wouldn't accept...
I am sure that it’s three flights were what the Air Force required.
That was for low risk stuff, granted it's been almost a decade since I reviewed the New Entrants Guide prior to publishing, but IIRC there are multiple pathways to certification. Wouldn't be a big shock if that customer picked the super low risk option.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
1,825

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
1,825

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
1,825

FighterJock

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Oct 29, 2007
Messages
1,467
Reaction score
283
View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1306602832225800193


The #DeltaIVHeavy #NROL44 launch for @NatReconOfc is planned for Sept. 26. The launch period is 12:01-1:35amEDT. The team has reviewed all data and ground support equipment and determined that a ground system regulator internal component failure was the cause of the on-pad abort.
Good news that the launch of the Delta IV Heavy has been rescheduled for Sept. 26. not long to wait. And another thing, at least they now know what caused the launch abort on the previous attempt.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
1,825
View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1306602832225800193


The #DeltaIVHeavy #NROL44 launch for @NatReconOfc is planned for Sept. 26. The launch period is 12:01-1:35amEDT. The team has reviewed all data and ground support equipment and determined that a ground system regulator internal component failure was the cause of the on-pad abort.
Good news that the launch of the Delta IV Heavy has been rescheduled for Sept. 26. not long to wait. And another thing, at least they now know what caused the launch abort on the previous attempt.
I do now wonder how much was caused by the lack of use due to how infrequently it launches.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
1,825
The launch has been delayed again due to more GSE issues:

View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1309885129658114054

The launch of the ULA #DeltaIVHeavy #NROL44 mission is now set for no earlier than Sept. 28. Additional time is needed for the team to test and evaluate the swing arm retraction system.
View: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1309885171332714496

As we believe in safety first and are dedicated to mission success, we are taking our time to thoroughly review the data to determine the appropriate path forward.
 

brownt62

Be kind to children.
Joined
Dec 18, 2012
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
I dont know about anyone else but right before ignition that free burning hydrogen going up the side of the vehicle makes me cringe......would that be allowed if the vehicle was man rated?
 

FighterJock

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Oct 29, 2007
Messages
1,467
Reaction score
283

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
11,717
Reaction score
1,841
Just the ongoing general deterioration in the aerospace industry? Or should we start thinking the 'S' word, deliberate or otherwise?
 

Moose

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2010
Messages
1,253
Reaction score
237
Calm down, these sort of things happen all the time. The Florida climate and proximity to launching rockets make life hard for complex machinery on the pad.
 

mkellytx

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
77
Reaction score
30
I dont know about anyone else but right before ignition that free burning hydrogen going up the side of the vehicle makes me cringe......would that be allowed if the vehicle was man rated?
It's a feature. It's only cringe worth if the paint or insulation catch fire...
 
Last edited:

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
1,825
Top