United Launch Alliance's Rocket With National Reconnaissance Payload

Delta IV rocket

NROL-47 is NRO's 50th launch since 1996. The rocket's second stage is propelled by an RL-10 engine.

There's an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for the Friday afternoon launch, United Launch Alliance said on Twitter. As usual with classified launchings, no details were provided about the satellite payload or its intended orbit.

Founded in 2006, ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

The vehicle will launch the classified NROL-47 payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

The mission was due to take place at Space Launch Complex-6 - around 140 miles from downtown Los Angeles in California.

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The rocket was supposed to launch on Wednesday but high winds and then equipment problems caused several delays. Orbital ATK's contributions to the Delta IV include cutting-edge technologies from across the company, including two Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 60), large composite structures and the propellant tank and nozzle for the main engine.

The Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 60) used on the Delta IV family of rockets measure some 53-feet (16 meters) in length.

The blastoff and initial phases of the rocket's flight were a success. After staging, an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 granted some 24,750 pounds of thrust, sending the Delta IV's upper stage to orbit.

ULA said: "The ULA #DeltaIV #NROL47" launch for the @NatReconOfc was scrubbed today due to an issue with a ground system valve.

"We are proud to provide this national defence capability and every Team V member involved has tirelessly worked to ensure the launch is safe and successful". The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the legacy launch systems.

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