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ULA’s Delta IV Heavy rocket is about to take its final flight

ULA's Delta IV Heavy on the launchpad.

United Launch Alliance will send its Delta IV Heavy rocket on its final flight on Tuesday, April 9.

The rocket was supposed to launch last month, but the liftoff was scrubbed with minutes to go due to a technical issue on the ground.

The mission will get underway from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and launch an intelligence satellite into a geostationary orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

In a social media post on Monday, ULA said there was a 90% chance of acceptable weather conditions at the launch site for the mission, which is set to blast off at 12:53 p.m.ET. Check out this Digital Trends article for full details on how to watch a live stream of the build-up to launch and the early stages of the mission.

If you live in Florida and look up on Tuesday afternoon, you might even see the rocket rising skyward in the minutes after launch. ULA released a helpful graphic (below) showing where and when you might be able to see the Delta IV Heavy on its historic final mission.

#TheDeltaFinale // Wonder when you will see the ultimate #DeltaIVHeavy near you? Our visibility graphic shows when the rocket will rise into view along the East Coast during the @NatReconOfc's #NROL70 mission.

Launch info. and updates:

— ULA (@ulalaunch) April 6, 2024

This will be the 16th and final flight of the Delta IV Heavy since its first one in 2004, and brings the curtain down on six decades of flight operations involving the Delta family of rockets.

The triple-booster Delta IV Heavy creates around 2.1 million pounds of thrust as it leaves the launchpad. That’s 400,000 pounds more than SpaceX’s single-booster Falcon 9 rocket, which achieves 1.7 million pounds of thrust, but considerably less than the most powerful rocket ever to fly, the Starship, which packs 17 million pounds of thrust as it hurtles to space.

The Delta IV Heavy will be replaced by ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket, which took its first flight from the Kennedy Space Center in January.

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