A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket on Dec. 10 at 8:09 p.m. Eastern launched NROL-44 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
While ULA builds the Atlas 5 for NROL-101 it also is working to get NROL-44 launched on a Delta 4 Heavy.
ULA statement: “Initial indications were with a ground system, and we are working to confirm the exact cause."
The hot fire abort of NROL-44 happened three seconds before the Delta 4 Heavy was to lift off.
NROL-44 is the first of the final five missions to be flown by Delta 4 Heavy between now and 2024
Bruno said ULA is confident that Vulcan will be ready to fly Category C payloads by 2023.
The award covers the launch operations costs for five classified NRO missions — NROL-44, NROL-82, NROL-91, NROL-68 and NROL-70.
The production of the third Delta 4 Heavy rocket under this contract is expected to be completed by January 2024.
The anomaly was detected during a routine mission assurance check.
Under the LVPS contract, ULA in October 2018 was awarded three NRO missions
NROL-68 is the second of three missions awarded to ULA under the Launch Vehicle Production Services contract.
WGS-10 was the second to last mission for the Delta 4 medium.
A NASA mission to travel closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft is on its way after a successful launch from Cape Canaveral Aug. 12.