The U.S. spy satellite was supposed to be launched on the Delta IV Heavy rocket. However, that has been delayed at least a week after an attempted liftoff, which was aborted. This happened on the 29th of August.
The abort happened just three seconds before the supposed launch of the NROL-44 satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The triple-core of the rocket started firing up its main engines, which overwhelmed the base of the booster and got on fire before the abortion.
The ULA commentator called Dillon Rice said, “3, 2, 1 and liftoff” when the engines fired. Then, a few seconds later, it started to become clear that something went wrong. The Delta IV Heavy remained on the pad of its Space Launch Complex 37B.
Representatives from ULA stated: “The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy carrying the NROL-44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office was scrubbed today due to an unexpected condition during terminal count at approximately three seconds before liftoff.” They also said that the team is taking a look at all the data and that they will find out what happened exactly. They will need to wait seven days minimum until the next launch attempt could take place.
The CEO of ULA, Tory Bruno, said that both the Delta IV Heavy and its payload are safe and in good shape. He explained that this was an automatic abort that took place during the ignition sequence. The cause seems to be something in the ground system.
The NROL-44 satellite is a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. They are dealing with U.S. spy satellite operations. As of now, we are not sure of its purpose.