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Delta 2 Rocket Launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base Rescheduled for Wednesday

Technicians remove and replace faulty valve that postponed Tuesday's liftoff attempt

A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket stands ready for liftoff from Space Launch Complex-2 with NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 payload. Liftoff was scrubbed early Tuesday morning.

A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket stands ready for liftoff from Space Launch Complex-2 with NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 payload. Liftoff was scrubbed early Tuesday morning.  (William Hartenstein photo / United Launch Alliance)

By Janene Scully, Noozhawk North County Editor | @JaneneScully | updated logo |

After technicians Tuesday removed and replaced a faulty valve on launch pad equipment at Vandenberg Air Fore Base, NASA officials confirmed the Delta 2 rocket's next launch attempt will come Wednesday morning.

Liftoff of the United Launch Alliance booster is planned for 2:56 a.m. Wednesday from Space Launch Complex-2.

The first launch attempt was aborted with 45 seconds left in the countdown, after a team member called “hold."

The trouble involved a Space Launch Complex-2 water deluge system that suppresses the sound of the rocket’s departure and protects the facility from the heat at liftoff.

Mission managers instructed the crew to prepare for another attempt as soon as early Wednesday morning.

“But of course we don’t know if that’s what it will turn out to be,” NASA spokesman George Diller said early Tuesday.

After the liftoff was scrubbed, crews took steps to ensure the rocket and its cargo, NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory, remained safe.

Later Tuesday, Diller said crews had removed and replaced a valve that apparently caused the problem.

"A valve that is part of the pulse suppression water system, which had operated properly during tests shortly before the launch countdown, failed to function properly during the final minutes of the launch attempt. The failed valve has been replaced with a spare, and the system is being tested in preparation for Wednesday's launch attempt," NASA said in written statement released Tuesday afternoon.

The weather forecast remains favorable for a launch attempt Wednesday morning, but not so great for spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of the departure.

“It’s a bit of a disappointment for the launch team when you have a great countdown up to that point,”  Tim Dunn, NASA launch manager, said shortly after the delay early Tuesday. “However, these are things we prepare for. We’re a professional team. We know how to handle this.”

The Delta 2 rocket will carry NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 into space for a $467.7 million mission to study the atmospheric carbon dioxide, a human-produced culprit of climate change.

It’s been nearly three years since the previous launch from SLC-2.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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