Vandenberg AFB Rocket Launch of US Spy Satellite Scheduled for Friday

The launch of a rocket carrying a national security satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base that was delayed multiple times this week is expected Friday at 1 p.m.

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket with a National Reconnaissance Office payload was originally set to launch Wednesday but was then rescheduled for Thursday, when it was delayed multiple times and ultimately scrubbed due to a ground system valve problem.

There’s an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for the Friday afternoon launch, United Launch Alliance said on Twitter.

Mission NROL-47 is scheduled for Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-6 near the Pacific Ocean, about 10 miles west of Lompoc and 140 miles west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

NROL-47 marks United Launch Alliance’s 27th launch for the federal National Reconnaissance Office, and the 36th flight for a Delta IV rocket since the first in 2002, according to the company’s website.

United Launch Alliance, headquartered in Denver, is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and the Boeing Co. It performs launch services for the U.S. government at Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Friday’s launch comes three weeks after the spectacular SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-4. Traveling across Southern California skies at dusk, the rocket’s giant trail prompted immediate, intense speculation by those who didn’t know what it was.

The SpaceX launch was visible from Arizona. It’s not clear if Friday’s daytime launch will present such a spectacle.


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