An anomaly was detected during a routine check, in both the craft. The issue lies in the upper stage subsystem. That has caused a one month delay in the launches that are supposed to carry an Air Force GPS satellite and the Air Force Advanced Extremely High-Frequency satellite. The United Launch Alliance (ULA) stated that Atlas 5 and Delta 4 launches delay was caused “due to an anomaly during component testing at a supplier which has created a cross-over concern.”
The cross-over concern requires the ground team to halt the launch of both satellites and perform further inspections before a safe start. The main goal of the evaluation is to replace and retest the faulty component in the craft.
The Air Force was approached to shine some light on the issue that is preventing their satellites from being launched, but they have declined to comment. However, an off the record statement from a DoD official has given us the information that the fault lies with the upper stage subsystem. No further details where given.
Atlas 5 and Delta 4 Launches Delayed Due To Technical Issues
Aerojet Rocketdyne supplies the RL10 upper stage engine for both crafts. A representative from the company ha stepped forward and said that the engines that have been provided are not at fault. Citing that another component that was chosen by ULA for the upper stage is faulty.
A ULA representative has commented that they have “identified a component concern with a sub-tier supplier on our upper stage, so we are doing our due diligence and taking any identified corrective actions to ensure the rockets are ready to be launched. Our top priority is our customer and ensuring mission success.”
Delays with space flights, like those recent ones of Atlas 5 and Delta 4, are common, but these particular safety concerns have put a wrench in an Air Force summer campaign where they would oversee multiple launches. With two successful launches so far, one of them being performed by the SpaceX Falcon Heavy.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.