ULA Given Unanimous ‘Go’ to Launch Spy Satellite From Vandenberg AFB on Saturday After Several Delays
After several scrubbed attempts and other delays, officials are finally set to launch a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County on Saturday morning.
The United Launch Alliance has been given a unanimous “go” on Friday to proceed with liftoff of the 233-foot-tall rocket, which will carry a classified satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, according to ULA’s website.
It’s scheduled to take place at 11:05 a.m.
The go-ahead was given by senior leaders at a Launch Readiness Review on Friday morning.
”We are proud to launch this critical payload in support of our nation’s national security mission,” Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs, said on the company’s launch blog. “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.”
Forecasters have predicted a 70 percent chance of favorable weather conditions at the time of the launch.
ULA has been working to blast off the spy satellite since Dec. 7, but has encountered a number of issues that have forced them to delay it.
The closest attempt was on Dec. 8, when ULA aborted the NROL 71 mission just seven second before liftoff that night.
By Jan. 5, the launch had been delayed indefinitely, with the company saying it was still working to remedy a technical issue that forced them to call off its fifth attempt on Dec. 19.
Rockets are typically visible in Southern California and other parts of the state within minutes of liftoff from the Central Coast air base, ULA tweeted last month.