United Launch Alliance (ULA) has announced that its Delta IV Heavy rocket has reached final preparations to launch the NROL-44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to support national security, the organization reported on Monday.
"Only the Delta IV Heavy possesses the capability to deliver this unique mission to orbit due to a combination of heavy lift and the largest flight-proven payload fairing," said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs.
ULA’s Delta IV Heavy has delivered high-priority missions for the U.S. Space Force, NRO and NASA. The vehicle has been assembled on three common core boosters that are powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine.
The engine has produced a combined total of more than 2.1 million pounds of thrust. The second stage is powered by an AR RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine.
The launch is on track for Aug. 26 at Space Launch Complex-37 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch is planned for 2:16 a.m. EDT. The live launch broadcast begins at 1:55 a.m. EDT on Aug. 26. This will be the 41st launch of the Delta IV rocket, and the 12th in the Heavy configuration. To date ULA has launched 140 times with 100 percent mission success.
"ULA is proud of the long-standing history of supporting critical national security missions and the continued partnership with our mission partners," Wentz added.
With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the nation's most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered 140 missions to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, deliver cutting-edge commercial services and enable GPS navigation.