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Local News

Upper-Level Winds Force Delay For SpaceX Falcon Launch at Vandenberg AFB

Launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and its cargo must wait at least one more day at Vandenberg Air Force Base after upper-level winds forced mission mangers to scrub Wednesday’s attempt. 

Liftoff of the Space Exploration Technologies rocket now is planned for 6:17 a.m. Thursday from Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base.

SpaceX officials said the team would stand down Wednesday due to strong upper-level winds that exceeded safety limits.

"High altitude wind shear data shows a probable 2% load exceedance. Small, but better to be paranoid," SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Twitter. "Postponing launch to tomorrow, assuming winds are better then."

Falcon will carry the PAZ, a high-resolution, radar-imaging spacecraft for Spain. 

Also hitching a ride aboard the rocket will be pair of small test satellites for the planned SpaceX Starlink constellation to deliver broadband service across the globe.

This Falcon 9 rocket had initially aimed for a Saturday departure before two delays pushed the launch attempt into the middle of this week.

This will be the first West Coast launch of 2018 for a Falcon 9 rocket. The firm's second Falcon mission this year from Vandenberg is planned for late March.

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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