Brevard County

ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket launch delayed until no earlier than Tuesday

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Sunday update:

United Launch Alliance announced Sunday that its Delta IV Heavy rocket launch has been delayed until no earlier than Tuesday.

ULA said the launch delay is needed to “test and evaluate the swing arm retraction system.”

“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,” a ULA spokesperson said.

Original report:

Central Florida residents are in for a treat as the Space Coast lights up with three possible launches in as many days.

On Sunday, after a series of delays, United Launch Alliance plans to launch a mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. If that launch takes place, it would clear the way for a SpaceX Starlink launch on Monday. Then on Tuesday, SpaceX would launch a next-generation navigation satellite for the United States Air Force.

The launch of a ULA Delta IV heavy rocket carrying a classified mission for the for the National Reconnaissance Office is set to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 12:10 a.m. on Sunday and takes priority over the other launches.

Read: PHOTOS: Rocket launches from Central Florida

“Well, if it’s an NRO mission, they don’t get any more important for our national security purposes,” said Dale Ketchum of Space Florida. “They are very likely the most expensive payloads we put up there. But they can also count the hairs on the people we want to keep an eye on.”

If the ULA launch is a success, it will pave the way for back to back SpaceX launches.

Dr. Ken Kremer of Space Upclose said, “Sunday, Monday, Tuesday we have launches. Now, if this launch delays again, that’ll have a cascading effect and it will delay the following two launches which are both SpaceX launches.”

Read: SpaceX and ULA renew deals as military’s top launch partners

One of the Space X launches is carrying a next-generation navigation satellite for the US Air Force.

As part of the mission, SpaceX also plans to land an upgraded Falcon 9 booster to be used for a future military launch, potentially saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.