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Weather To Accommodate Atlas V Rocket Launch From Vandenberg Air Force Base

United Launch Alliance booster to carry WorldView-4 imaging satellite plus several CubeSats

An Atlas V rocket is readied for launch earlier this fall under cloudy skies at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Officials say weather won’t interfere with the planned liftoff between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. Friday Click to view larger
An Atlas V rocket is readied for launch earlier this fall under cloudy skies at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Officials say weather won’t interfere with the planned liftoff between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. Friday (Photo courtesy of ULA and Lockheed Martin / Jeff Spotts)

Weather won’t interfere with hopes of getting a much-delayed Atlas V rocket and its cargo off the ground Friday morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Liftoff from Space Launch Complex-3 on South Base is planned during a launch window opening at 10:30 a.m. and closing at 10:45 a.m.  Launch windows are established by where the satellite needs to be placed in space.

Forecasters with the 30th Space Wing are calling for a 90-percent chance of favorable weather conditions for Friday’s launch attempt, according to officials with Atlas manufacturer United Launch Alliance. 

“By T-0, the low-level moisture will have dissipated with heating, yielding favorable weather conditions and mostly clear skies with high-level cirrus,” launch weather forecasters said. 

If the mission is delayed until Saturday for some reason, forecasters are calling for a 30-percent likelihood weather will violate the rules, with concerns centered on thick clouds and launch visibility, ULA representatives said. 

Standing 194 feet tall, the Atlas will carry DigitalGlobe's WorldView-4 Earth-imaging satellite plus several CubeSats into orbit to collect high-resolution photos for government, commercial and international customers. 

Liftoff initially was set for September, before fires and technical troubles thwarted the departure.

The daytime blastoff occurring on the Veterans Day holiday will likely draw a large number of spectators to various vantage points around the Lompoc Valley.

Vandenberg officials said community members can go to the Hawk’s Nest, a half mile south of the main gate, to view the launch.

Other popular spots for viewing launches from South Base include the intersection of Moonglow and Stardust roads in Vandenberg Village, the peak of Harris Grade Road, Highway 246 west of Lompoc and other other areas west of the city.

Due to safety rules, Jalama Beach County Park, south of Vandenberg, will be evacuated between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. on launch day. 

Surf and Ocean beaches at Vandenberg also will be closed due to the launch.

The launch webcast will be available both here and here.

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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