Monday, October 23 , 2017, 5:28 am | Fair 54º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Atlas V Rocket Launch From Vandenberg AFB Rescheduled for Saturday

Launch originally scheduled for Thursday night

An Atlas V rocket sit at Space Launch Complex-3 shrouded in fog while awaiting liftoff to deliver a National Reconnaissance Office payload into orbit.
An Atlas V rocket sit at Space Launch Complex-3 shrouded in fog while awaiting liftoff to deliver a National Reconnaissance Office payload into orbit. (National Reconnaissance Office photo)

A glitch has delayed Thursday night’s departure of an Atlas V rocket and its top-secret spacecraft at Vandenberg Air Force Base, with plans to try again Saturday night.

Liftoff of the United Launch Alliance rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 on South Base will not occur before Saturday, officials said Thursday afternoon.

"The delay allows the team time to replace a faulty battery on the Atlas V booster," ULA officials said in a written statement. "The vehicle and spacecraft remain stable."

Crews are aiming for liftoff at 10:30 p.m. Saturday,  ULA officials said Friday morning. 

"The battery replacement is on schedule and the ULA and customer teams are ready to support this new launch date," ULA officials added.

The actual launch window remains top secret due to the cargo on board, but is expected to be shorter than an hour. 

Launch times are established based upon where a spacecraft needs to be placed in space. 

The Atlas rocket stands 20 stories high and weighs more than 1 million pounds fully fueled.

The space booster is slated to place a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office into orbit for a mission dubbed NROL-42.

This mission most recently had been postponed a week due to Hurricane Irma in the Atlantic Ocean, to allow United Launch Alliance workers helping at Vandenberg return home to Florida to ensure their families and residences were safe and secure. 

Due to safety reasons linked to the rocket’s flight path, Jalama Beach County Park will be evacuated from 8 p.m. to midnight when the mission occurs. 

The Atlas V launch pad, notable with its gigantic white mobile service tower, is visible on the horizon looking south of Highway 246 from spots around the Lompoc Valley.

While Vandenberg has restricted access, there are several spots around the Lompoc Valley offering views including the peak of Harris Grade Road, West Ocean Avenue or locales in Vandenberg Village. 

However, Vandenberg officials do not plan to open the Hawk's Nest viewing site for this launch.

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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >