A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Thursday, carrying a U.S. government spy satellite.
Powered by three Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A engines, the Delta 4-Heavy launch had been delayed for several months. The launch was originally scheduled for late August, then was scrubbed again in late September.
“We are honored to launch the first payload from the newly-renamed Cape Canaveral Space Force Station,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of government and commercial programs. “I want to thank our mission partners for their collaboration and teamwork as we worked through technical challenges that culminated in the launch of this critical national security payload. The Delta 4-Heavy again demonstrated its success as the nation’s proven heavy lift vehicle, through its unique capability to deliver this mission to orbit due to a combination of performance and fairing size,”
But details were sparse on the payload except for the fact that a satellite was being put into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office.
The launch marked the first time a vehicle lifted off from the newly named Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, formerly known as Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Last week during a meeting of the National Space Council, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the two Air Force bases on the Space Coast would be renamed, with Patrick Air Force Base also being changed to Patrick Space Force Base.