The launch of an oft-delayed U.S. spy satellite has been pushed back again, this time to no earlier than Jan. 6, according to the United Launch Alliance.
A ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket was scheduled to launch the clandestine satellite mission, called NROL-71, on Sunday (Dec. 30) from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch has been delayed several times due to rocket issues, most recently on Dec. 19 due to a suspected hydrogen leak on the booster.
“The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy carrying the NROL-71 mission will launch no earlier than Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019,” ULA representatives said in a statemement.”The mission will launch from Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.”
ULA’s attempts to launch the NROL-71 mission on Dec. 7 and 8 were delayed by technical issues. An attempt on Dec. 18 was thwarted by high winds, leading to the Dec. 19 launch scrub.
- Tariq Malik, Space.com Managing Editor
Tariq joined Purch’s Space.com team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com’s Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.