Atlas V Rocket Returns To Launch Pad

By  //  June 19, 2012

Liftoff On Wednesday

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – An Atlas V rocket carrying a secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office is returning to the launch pad this morning and being readied for a Wednesday morning liftoff.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle carrying the NROL-38 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office is rolled to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex-41 on Tuesday. (Image courtesy United Launch Alliance)

The launch was originally set for Monday morning, but United Launch Alliance technicians identified an issue with an environmental control system duct aboard its NROL-38 mission that failed near its connection to the Mobile Launch Platform on Sunday afternoon.

That forced a delay of the mission until Wednesday.

The vehicle was rolled back to the Vertical Integration facility at Cape Canaveral for removal and replacement of the duct Sunday and the vehicle was headed back this morning to the Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

This Atlas V launch will be the fifth overall for United Launch Alliance this year and the 61st overall for the company.

It also will be second of four planned launches by ULA in 2012 and the first of three over a span of next six weeks.

The Atlas V will deliver a secret payload to space for the National Reconnaissance Office in support of national defense.

The rocket uses more than 860,000 pounds of thrust at liftoff through its RD-180 main engine.