Published: Sat, December 22, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

SoCal rocket launch scrubbed until end of December

SoCal rocket launch scrubbed until end of December

But controllers called the attempt off about 10 minutes before the planned launch, after noticing an issue with the rocket.

Southern Californians missed out on another colorful display in the sky Wednesday when a Delta IV rocket launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base was again cancelled minutes before liftoff.

Rocket fans in California may have been disappointed by tonight's scrub of a Delta 4 Heavy launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, but they received a nice consolation prize: a fireball that left what looked like a contrail hanging in sunset skies. "We will set up for a 24 hour recycle and the next launch attempt will be 12/20 at 5:31pm PST", rocket builder United Launch Alliance said in a tweet.

As for when the Delta IV Heavy rocket may launch, mission managers said that while there is no official date and time as of yet, it will not happen until at least December 30.

Wednesday was the fourth time the mission has been delayed.

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The payload was identified as NROL-71 but no other information was released.

The launch was scheduled for Tuesday but was delayed due to high winds. Space enthusiasts speculated online that it is the first of a new generation of KH-11 electro-optical reconnaissance satellites. Its mission is to carry a reconnaissance satellite into orbit.

Spaceflight Now reported that the scrub was prompted by a suspected hydrogen leak in the port booster engine section of the Delta IV Heavy rocket.

ULA has carried out 27 launches for the National Reconnaissance Office over the past 12 years.

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