The scheduled launch of a rocket carrying a reconnaissance satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County that was originally scheduled for Friday, has been reset for Saturday.
The launch is now scheduled for 8:06 p.m. Saturday evening. Prior launches from Vandenberg have created spectacular light displays over the Southern California and the southwestern United States.
The United Launch Alliance rocket was initially set to take off at 8:19 p.m. Friday, but roughly three hours before launch time, it was scrubbed due to “an issue with a redundant communication link between the control center and launch site.”
If liftoff is successful Saturday, the launch will be the second rocket to take off this week from Vandenberg. Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from the base Monday, carrying 64 satellites into orbit.
Saturday’s launch is being carried out by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. ULA’s Delta IV Heavy rocket will carry a secretive satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.
“We are proud to launch this critical payload in support of our nation’s national security mission,” Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of government and commercial programs, said in a statement. “As the nation’s premiere launch provider, the teams have worked diligently to ensure continued mission success, delivering our customer’s payloads to the precise orbits requested.”
According to the company, the Delta IV Heavy rocket includes three Rocketdyne liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engines that can produce a combined 2.1 million pounds of thrust.
As of Thursday afternoon, the weather forecast for the Lompoc area was indicating a “40 percent chance of favorable conditions for the liftoff,” according to ULA.
“The only concern for a launch weather rule violation will be winds,” the company stated.
ULA has carried out 27 launches for the National Reconnaissance Office over the past 12 years.
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