The thrice-delayed launch of a giant rocket carrying a spy satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base is set for early Wednesday evening, potentially giving San Diego a dramatic light show.
Rocket launches from Vandenberg, particularly those carried out after sundown, have traditionally created spectacular light shows in the skies over Southern California and the southwestern United States.
The launch was postponed Tuesday because of high winds. It was also scrubbed Dec. 8 just 7.5 seconds before its scheduled liftoff due to a technical glitch. An operational problem had caused a delay in the launch one day prior to that.
“We are proud to launch this critical payload in support of our nation’s national security mission,” said Gary Wentz, vice president of government and commercial programs for United Launch Alliance. “As the nation’s premiere launch provider, the teams have worked diligently to ensure continued mission success, delivering our customer’s payloads to the precise orbits requested.”
The Delta IV Heavy spacecraft is three rockets strapped together. The vehicle’s three liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engines can produce a combined 2.1 million pounds of thrust.
United Launch Alliance is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. ULA has carried out 27 launches for the National Reconnaissance Office over the past 12 years.
Updated at 5:40 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018
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