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Delta IV Heavy rocket launch postponed

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A planned Saturday launch of a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral has been postponed.

The delay comes at the request of the payload’s owner, the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

United Launch Alliance had scheduled the launch of the Delta IV Heavy, the nation’s most powerful rocket, to carry an NRO communications satellite into orbit.

“The Delta IV NROL-37 launch is delayed at the request of the customer. The NROL-37 spacecraft and launch vehicle are secure on Space Launch Complex 37,” ULA announced in a statement.

The fact that the NRO is sponsoring the mission means the craft and its purpose are top secret. No details are being released about it.

The launch, when it occurs, be the first launch of a Delta IV Heavy since NASA used one to test-fly its deep-space astronaut capsule Orion in December 2014. The Delta IV Heavy is a configuration of the standard Delta IV with two liquid-fuel rocket boosters strapped to the rocket.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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