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Final Delta IV Heavy launch scrubbed minutes before liftoff

An attempt to launch United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rocket for the very last time was scrubbed on Thursday with a little under four minutes remaining on the countdown clock.

The launch of the Delta IV Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida was called off in the dying minutes because of “an issue with the gaseous nitrogen pipeline which provides pneumatic pressure to the launch vehicle systems,” ULA said in a post on social media, adding that the team initiated operations to secure the vehicle.

ULA is now targeting Friday for a second attempt at the launch. Digital Trends has all the information you need to watch a live stream of the event.

The 16th and final flight of the Delta IV Heavy will launch the NROL-70 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), deploying an intelligence satellite into a geostationary orbit.

A short video released by ULA earlier this week shows the various stages of the final Delta flight, including stage separation and satellite deployment.

The triple-booster rocket packs around 2.1 million pounds of thrust at launch. That’s slightly more than SpaceX’s single-booster Falcon 9 rocket, which achieves 1.7 million pounds of thrust, but way less than the most powerful rocket ever to fly, the Starship, which packs a colossal 17 million pounds of thrust as it roars away from the launchpad.

The NROL-70 mission, when it gets underway, will be the final one for the entire Delta family of rockets, which has been operational for the last six decades.

The Delta IV Heavy and another ULA rocket — the Atlas V — are being replaced by ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket, which took its maiden flight from the Kennedy Space Center earlier this year.

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Trevor Mogg
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Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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