Monday, December 18 , 2017, 2:48 am | Smoke 39º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Delta IV Rocket Launch from Vandenberg AFB Pushed Into January

United Launch Alliance says additional time is needed to complete validation testing for new avionics system

In this United Launch Alliance photo from the 2012 mission, a Delta IV rocket sits at Space Launch Complex-6 on south Vandenberg Air Force Base awaiting a mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. A similiar Delta IV Medium rocket will conduct a mission for the NRO in January after a delay. Click to view larger
In this United Launch Alliance photo from the 2012 mission, a Delta IV rocket sits at Space Launch Complex-6 on south Vandenberg Air Force Base awaiting a mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. A similiar Delta IV Medium rocket will conduct a mission for the NRO in January after a delay. (United Launch Alliance photo)

A Delta IV rocket launch of a top-secret satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base has been delayed until January. 

United Launch Alliance officials said Wednesday that the the Dec. 13 launch of the Delta IV Medium rocket has been postponed to allow more time to conduct tests.

Liftoff now is planned for no earlier than Jan. 10 from Space Launch Complex-6 on South Base. 

The extra time will allow the team to conduct additional validation on software and systems associated with the new avionics gear, ULA said.

“Common Avionics is a newly designed suite of avionics, flight software and ground systems that will fly on both Atlas V and Delta IV,” ULA officials said in a written statement.

“This upgraded command and control system was designed to reduce cost and improve reliability.”

The upcoming mission, dubbed NROL-47, will be the first flight of the Common Avionics system on Delta IV. 

The vehicle and spacecraft remain stable, ULA officials added.

The rocket is set to carry clandestine cargo for the National Reconnaissance Office. The launch period will not be released until the departure date nears.

A delay for Delta means a Falcon rocket planned for December may be the only launch of the month from Vandenberg, and the last of the year.

That mission involves lifting another 10 Iridium Next communication satellites to space and marks the fourth set to fly in 2017. 

Liftoff is planned for 5:32 p.m. Dec. 22 from Space Launch Complex-4. 

In all, SpaceX has been hired to conduct eight missions to deliver 75 Iridium Next satellites, with the launches planned every two months.

A total of 81 satellites are scheduled to roll off the Arizona assembly line, with 66 serving as the operational satellites to replace the existing Iridium network, officials said. 

The remainder will serve as spares, some positioned in space and others waiting on the ground to be called into service.

The replacements for the first-generation Iridium satellites that mostly launched from Vandenberg will continue to allow satellite phone and other communications around the globe.

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 >