Any weather-related concerns leading up to the Thursday morning launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral are typical of summertime in Florida: the possibility of lingering cumulus clouds and accompanying showers.
Those translate to a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions at Launch Complex 37 leading up to the 9 a.m. liftoff, the Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron said Monday morning.
Teams will have 27 minutes to launch Delta IV — its final flight in the single core configuration — with a Global Positioning System spacecraft.
“Sufficient moisture and light steering flow should trigger isolated showers and storms over the Atlantic waters early Thursday morning,” forecasters said. “While light winds will keep most of this activity offshore, a shower approaching the coast and / or flight path cannot be ruled out, thus the primary concerns during the launch window are the cumulus cloud rule and flight through precipitation.”
After its flight Thursday, Delta IV will enter the history books — only its three-core Delta IV Heavy sibling will fly into the 2020s. This launch’s configuration, known as “medium” or “single-stick,” will be retired to make room for Vulcan Centaur, ULA’s future rocket slated to launch no earlier than 2021.
This GPS launch will be ULA’s 135th mission overall and Delta IV’s 29th in the single-stick configuration. The company’s other offering, Atlas V, will also fly into the 2020s until it too is retired to make Vulcan the sole vehicle operating under ULA’s umbrella.
- Rocket: ULA Delta IV
- Mission: Air Force GPS satellite
- Launch Time: 9 a.m.
- Launch Window: Until 9:27 a.m.
- Launch Complex: 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
- Weather: 70% “go”