CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. ? Abnormaltemperature readings during fueling prompted the scrub of Friday night'splanned launch of a secret satellite atop a Delta 4 Heavy rocket.
United Launch Alliance plans to announce thetiming of a new launch attempt by this afternoon after further analysis of theproblem.
The giant rocket was preparing to blast offfrom Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:06 p.m. Friday with a classifiedNational Reconnaissance Office spacecraft.
Supercold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygenpropellants began pumping into the rocket's three side-by-side first-stageboosters at 1 p.m.
But launch teams cut the process short and begandraining the tanks a little more than an hour later after detectingirregular temperatures in the left and right boosters.
The target launch timewas briefly reset to 8:30 p.m. as troubleshooting continued, but a scrub wasofficially called at 3:45 p.m.
"The Delta 4 Heavy and payload are safeand secure," ULA said in a statement.
The scrub came two weeks after a fuelingproblem scrubbedshuttle Discovery's launch from Kennedy Space Center, which is now plannedno earlier than Dec. 3.
The rocket's countdown already had beendelayed a day while crews replaced a faulty ordnance line at Launch Complex 37.
After the scrub, a 330-foot mobile servicetower was rolled back into place around the 23-story rocket to give techniciansaccess to sensors and instruments on the boosters.
If a launch attempt is possible Sunday, Nov.21, the weather forecast remains excellent with a 90 percent chance offavorable conditions.
The launch would be the fourth by a Delta 4Heavy, the nation's mostpowerful liquid-fueled rocket.
Designed to haul very heavy payloads, therocket flew a demonstration flight in 2004 and successful operational missionsin 2007 and 2009.
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