For the second morning in a row, the Delta II rocket team at Vandenberg Air Force Base had to postpone the countdown, with a decision later made to try again Saturday.
Liftoff was aiming for 1:47 a.m. from Space Launch Complex-2 before upper level winds that exceeded safety limits prompted a delay and led the team to target a 24-hour turnaround.
However, a gloomy weather forecast helped lead the decision to delay the next attempt until Saturday morning, according to mariners’ warnings to remain away from the waters off Vandenberg.
A Saturday launch attempt also will shoot for departure at 1:47 a.m. for the 12-story-tall rocket built by United Launch Alliance.
The second delay occurred less than 17 minutes before the planned liftoff Wednesday.
Upper-level winds were deemed at unacceptable limits for the Delta II rocket’s flight and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Joint Polar Satellite System, or JPSS-1, on board.
“You want to ensure that the rocket is not buffetted by severe winds. That there’s no wind shear or anything that could be a concern for the safety of the rocket and of course its important NOAA JPSS-1 payload,” a NASA launch commentator said.
Mission managers assessed the weather and determined conditions would not improve before the planned liftoff time Wednesday morning., NASA officials said.
However, the forecast for upper-level winds look equally troublesome for a Thursday attempt so the launch team leaders were expected to meet to confirm later Wednesday when they would try again.
A day earlier, a last-minute technical glitch was partially to be blame for the first scrub. Mariners in the exclusion area off the coast also were a concern for safety reasons.
JPSS-1 is the first in a series of a new generation of weather satellites to collect global measurements of atmospheric, land and sea conditions.
— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.