America's largest rocket is set to launch a classified satellite into Earth's orbit on Thursday afternoon, but the launch may be delayed due to stormy weather.
The massive Delta IV Heavy rocket will be used to send a large satellite into Earth's orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office; however, the exact details of the satellite and its mission have not been released to the public.
The launch is scheduled to take place on Thursday at 1:59 p.m. EDT, but the launch may be delayed due to poor weather.
As of Wednesday, the Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron was predicting a 60 percent chance that the weather would not be favorable during Thursday's launch window.
"Unsettled weather will continue around Cape Canaveral on Thursday with a leftover frontal boundary in the area," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Edwards said. "Given the clouds and thunderstorm activity, there may be significant delays with the launch."
Rockets like the Delta IV Heavy cannot take off when there is rain or the threat of lightning at the time of launch. These weather conditions can be potentially damaging to the rocket and its cargo.
If the Delta IV Heavy rocket does not launch on Thursday, the next launch attempt will take place on Saturday afternoon.
Weather conditions are expected to improve for Saturday, but the 45th Weather Squadron is forecasting a 40 percent chance that the weather will still be an issue for Saturday's potential launch attempt.
The primary weather concern on Saturday will continue to be thunderstorms, although the thunderstorms are not expected to be as widespread as they will be on Thursday.
The Delta IV Heavy rocket is the largest American rocket currently in operation and was designed by the United Launch Alliance.
The amount of thrust that this massive rocket produces is required to send the large reconnaissance satellite into geosynchronous orbit, an orbit that is much farther away from Earth than objects such as the International Space Station.
Geosynchronous orbit is commonly used for weather, communication and surveillance satellites since it allows the satellite to stay fixed over the same part of the Earth all of the time.
This will be the Delta IV Heavy rocket's ninth launch. The most recent Delta IV Heavy launch took place in 2014 when NASA sent their newly developed Orion space capsule on its first test mission into space.