Launch of New US Spy Satellite Delayed to Early 2019 – Space.com

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 rocket carrying the NROL-71 spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office stands atop its launchpad at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a Dec. 19, 2018 launch attempt.

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the NROL-71 spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office stands atop its launchpad at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a Dec. 19, 2018 launch attempt.

Credit: United Launch Alliance

“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.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom and FacebookOriginally published on Space.com.

Author Bio


Tariq Malik

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 Twitter and on Facebook.

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