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Rocket Launch Tonight From Cape Canaveral

2nd UPDATE:  Rocket Launch From Cape Canaveral Scheduled For Monday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — The launch of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV medium configuration rocket in support of the U.S. Air Force AFSPC-04 mission is set for  6:59 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 24, 2014 with a 65-minute launch window from Space Launch Complex-37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

According to the latest weather forecast from the USAF 45th Weather Squadron, there is only a 30% percent chance overall of acceptable weather conditions at launch time.  The primary weather concerns for launch are anvil clouds, lightning, and cumulus clouds.

The Delta IV rocket will carry two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites to near-geosynchronous orbit and will also carry an Automated Navigation and Guidance Experiment for Local Space (ANGELS) satellite.

The twin GSSAP spacecraft will support U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensor.  The GSSAP will also support Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC SPACE) tasking to collect space situational awareness data, allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects in the geosynchronous orbital belt 22,300 miles above Earth.

The ANGELS satellite is managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate.  As part of AFRL’s research in advanced Space Situational Awareness (SSA), ANGELS examines techniques for providing a clearer picture of the environment surrounding our nation’s vital space assets.

AFSPC-4 will be the 33rd ULA mission for the U.S. Air Force. It will be the eighth of 15 planned missions ULA is slated to launch in 2014, and ULA’s 85th since the company formed in 2006.

Where Is the Best Place That You Can Watch The Rocket Launch?

A. There are several locations available for guests to view the launch from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. General admission tickets required.  Visit the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex website for directions and more information.

Free areas to watch the Rocket Launch (in order of best viewing):

1. Titusville, Florida southward along the Indian River on the east side of US Highway 1.
2. Between Merritt Island and Cape Canaveral along the north side of State Road 528.
3. Port Canaveral, with best viewing and paid parking available at Jetty Park.
4. Along the beaches of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach, Florida (there is metered parking in Cocoa Beach that only accepts quarters, so bring some change).

Map of Launch Complex 37-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.  Credit: Google.  Rocket launch viewing locations added by Brevard Times.

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