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Atlas V Rocket Gets New Liftoff Date at Vandenberg Air Force Base

Mission to place commercial Earth-imaging satellite into orbit was delayed by last month's 12,500-acre Canyon Fire

Built by Lockheed Martin, DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-4 satellite was enclosed last month in the 4-meter fairing that was placed atop an Atlas 5 rocket in preparation for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch that was scrubbed due to a vegetaton fire on base has been rescheduled for Nov. 6. Click to view larger
Built by Lockheed Martin, DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-4 satellite was enclosed last month in the 4-meter fairing that was placed atop an Atlas 5 rocket in preparation for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch that was scrubbed due to a vegetaton fire on base has been rescheduled for Nov. 6. (Lockheed Martin/United Launch Alliance photo)

The delayed launch of the Atlas V rocket with the WorldView-4 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base has been rescheduled for Nov. 6.

Liftoff from Space Launch Complex-3 on South Base is planned between 10:30 to 10:46 a.m., making a seven-week delay for the mission.

Launch time is an hour earlier that previous attempts due to the end of Daylight Saving Time, and the fact clocks will fall back an hour the same day.

A rocket's departure time is based upon where the satellite needs to be placed in space. 

The launch has been in limbo since Sept. 18, hours after a fire erupted on South Base.

Before being extinguished, the fire charred more than 12,500 acres, damaging multiple power poles and communication cables.

An initial countdown attempt on Sept. 16 was canceled approximately 30 minutes before blastoff due to a faulty valve.

During the lengthy delay, the WorldView-4 spacecraft, which was built by Lockheed Martin Corp., has remained perched atop the Atlas rocket at SLC-3, officials said.

DigitalGlobe representatives said they expected WorldView-4 to generate revenue in early 2017.

The rocket's primary passenger, a commercial Earth-imaging satellite, will continue adding to the firm’s library used by government, private and international customers once it reaches orbit.

Since the fire started, DigitalGlobe has been using sibling satellites, including WorldView-3, which launched from the site two years ago to capture images of South Base.

Those images have been provided to response teams on the ground, and reveal the fire was 2.5 kilometers, or 1.5 miles, from the launch pad, officials said.

The WorldView-3 satellite boasts a short-wave infrared sensor, which is able to pierce through smoke and see where fires are burning on the ground. 

In addition to WorldView-4, the rocket will carry several small spacecraft called CubeSats for the National Reconnaissance Office under an unclassified technology demonstration program.

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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