The Atlas V rocket launch carrying a billion-dollar US missile defense satellite was postponed due to an abnormal system response, according to a post on Twitter by United Launch Alliance (ULA).
ULA canceled the launch of Atlas V after it identified an anomalous system response that could not be resolved within the launch window during “Centaur liquid oxygen chilldown operations.” According to the company, the launch has been rescheduled for 1:31 pm EDT (17:31 GMT) on Tuesday.
Initially, the rocket was scheduled to launch yesterday at 1:35 pm EDT (17:35 GMT) from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Space Launch Complex-41.
The Atlas V 421 rocket will be launching the fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO Flight 5) satellite for the US Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The SBIRS will provide missile detection and early warning for the US military by utilizing infrared sensors to detect hot plumes from missile launches all around the world.
Military officials said that the cost of the Lockheed Martin-built satellite is estimated at $1 billion and is considered one of the country’s highest priority space programs.
Between 2011 and 2018, the Atlas V launched four SBIRS GEO satellites into Earth orbit. Today’s launch will be the eighth flight of the Atlas 5-421 and the 87th launch of an Atlas 5 rocket.
The launch of a ULA #AtlasV carrying the #SBIRS GEO Flight 5 mission for the @SpaceForceDOD @USSF_SMC has been scrubbed. During Centaur liquid oxygen (LOX) chilldown operations, the team identified an anomalous system response that could not be resolved within the launch window.
— ULA (@ulalaunch) May 17, 2021