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US Spy Satellite Delta IV aborts its mission for the third time

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Meanwhile, the NROL-44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office once again rests for the time being as per the United Launch Alliance (ULA) report. The launch, which was about to take off yesterday at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, was suddenly called off.

This is not the first time that the mission has been aborted. Earlier, it was dated 27th August but had to undergo an abort due to heater and pneumatic issues. Then came the second attempt which had to undergo delay for fixing the pneumatics. Engineers observed rapid heating and fueling of DeltaIV, which was eventually resolved later on.

Reports confirmed that “ The engine start sequence began at T-7 seconds with the ignition of the starboard booster’s RS-68A engine, followed two seconds later by ignition sequence start of the core and port boosters’ RS-68A engines.” However, an automatic termination was initiated by Terminal Countdown Sequencer Rack, leading to a shutdown of the three RS-68A engines.

Tory Bruno, CEO of ULA reported on the cause stating,

“high volumetric flow rate pressure regulator [that] did not open,”.

After the fixation and resolving the system issue, the launch date was shifted to September 29. Unfortunately, the weather prior to the pre-launch prohibited any removal of service structure from around the rocket. An additional problem pertaining to a hydraulic leak in the ground system was also observed.

For now, the mission rests. No further announcement has resurfaced yet. Toru Bruno officially tweeted: “”We experienced an automated abort because a sensor reported a fault. Automated Safety System operated as intended. Bird and payload are safe and unharmed. Engine ROFI ignitors were not fired. Turbo pumps were not spun up. Mission safety first…”,

Confirming no harm done as such. Company representatives are looking and reviewing the data, awaiting a final appraisal, for now, to set up a launch date in the coming months to follow.


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