The launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket carrying the GPS IIF-11 satellite is being pushed back 24 hours to Saturday to provide additional time for a Ground Support Equipment issue to be addressed. Saturday’s launch window stretches from 16:13 to 16:32 UTC.
Atlas V rolled to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday in preparation for a Friday launch attempt, but final checkouts at the pad revealed a leaky valve within the launch pad’s water suppression system activated seconds prior to ignition to dampen the shockwaves from the powerful RD-180 main engine. ULA said the valve will require repair or replacement and teams are proceeding with these actions.
According to meteorologists, the current high-pressure setup will remain in place for Saturday’s backup launch slot and there is only a 10% chance of weather rule violations.