Atlas V Rocket Launch Delayed Due to Duct Failure

Atlas V Launch

The Atlas V Rocket launch that was scheduled for Monday, June 18, 2012 has been delayed because of a failure with the environmental control system duct.

After the Atlas V rocket was rolled to the launch pad, the United Launch Alliance discovered an issue with environmental control system duct that failed near its connection to the Mobile Launch Platform. The vehicle was then returned to the Vertical Integration Facility for the duct to be removed and replaced.

“The rocket is carrying a classified payload into orbit for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Because it is a national security mission, the window of opportunity of the launch has not been disclosed yet. However, the spaceflight website said the launch has a target of 8:28 a.m., and weather is forecast with a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions for launch,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The Atlas V launch is now planned for Wednesday, June 20, 2012.

It is the second of four scheduled NRO launches in 2012. The first of those launches took place on May 4, as a ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-2 (AEHF-2) satellite for the United States Air Force (USAF) lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 2:42pm EDT. That launch marked the 30th Atlas V mission and the 60th launch for ULA, according to Red Orbit.

Jim Sponnick, ULA’s Vice President of Mission Operations, said in a statement, “ULA is proud to serve alongside our mission partners and privileged that the Air Force entrusts the ULA team to deliver critical national security capability to orbit for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines around the world. ULA remains dedicated to providing reliable, cost-effective launch services while continuing our unwavering commitment to 100 percent mission success. Today’s successful launch was the 60th since ULA was formed just over five years ago and we congratulate the AEHF team on this important step toward delivering these critical protected communications capabilities.”

Watch the Atlas rocket launch live via NASA TV feed:

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