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Local News

Atlas V Rocket Launch Attempt Delayed Due to Fire at Vandenberg AFB

A wildfire burning on south Vandenberg Air Force Base forced crews to scrub the Atlas V rocket launch planned for Sunday morning, and the next attempt won't occur for a week.

“Our procedures require stand-by firefighting crews for every launch to ensure safety of our personnel and facility protection,” Air Force Col. Paul Nosek, Emergency Operations Center commander, said early Sunday.

“We’ve delayed the launch in order to concentrate our resources on the situation at hand.”

A commercial imaging satellite, WorldView-4, is awaiting its ride to space aboard the United Launch Alliance rocket from Space Launch Complex-3.

A new launch date has not been set but ULA officials initially said on Twitter the next attempt would not occur before Tuesday.

Later Sunday morning, ULA officials said the launch won't take place before Sept. 26 "due to Western Range availability."

"The launch vehicle and payload are secure in the Mobile Service Tower at SLC-3," ULA officials said in a statement to media.

No facilities have been damaged by the fire that ignited Saturday evening on the base, in a canyon between Arguello and Santa Ynez roads southwest of Lompoc.

As of Sunday morning, the fire had charred at least  400 acres, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Space launch complexes and critical range assets are not in immediate danger, Nosek said.

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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