MELBOURNE, Florida -- The forecast has improved significantly for the planned launch this week of a classified satellite on a Delta IV Heavy rocket.
Originally scheduled to lift-off Thursday, the launch is now planned for Friday at 6:13 a.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The window is expected to stretch several hours. Air Force meteorologists say Tropical Depression Debby is speeding up and expected to exit the East Coast on Wednesday.
Previous forecasts for a Friday launch had a 70 percent chance that the launch would be delayed. Winds should drop to levels acceptable for a mobile service tower at Launch Complex 37 to roll back from United Launch Alliance's huge Delta IV Heavy rocket Thursday evening, setting up the launch attempt early Friday.
A National Reconnaissance Office satellite sits atop the roughly 230-foot rocket. This is the second scheduled rocket to blast off from the Cape in just more than a week.
The latest forecast shows a 70 percent chance of favorable weather conditions, with potential for cumulus and thick layered clouds associated with isolated showers. If the launch is delayed, the weather odds are the same through the weekend.
By JAMES DEAN Florida Today