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Glitch delays Atlas V rocket mission from Vandenberg

An Atlas V rocket stands ready to launch the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-55 mission from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-3 in 2015. An issue involving an Atlas rocket has delayed the departure of another NRO payload set to launch from there later this month.
An Atlas V rocket stands ready to launch the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-55 mission from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-3 in 2015. An issue involving an Atlas rocket has delayed the departure of another NRO payload set to launch from there later this month.

A second-stage booster issue will delay the Atlas V rocket launch planned for later this month from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

United Launch Alliance, which manufactures the Atlas V rocket, announced Monday that the launch date is under review.

“The team is actively working to resolve Atlas V second stage booster issues discovered during vehicle testing,” ULA officials said. “This additional time will allow the ULA team to ensure all systems are operating nominally prior to launch.”

The Atlas V rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-3 East on South Base.

Riding on board the Atlas V rocket will be a top-secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which does not release details about its spacecraft.

A new launch date will be released once it’s established, ULA officials said.

The glitch delaying the West Coast mission will not postpone an Atlas V mission from the East Coast.

ULA officials also said the Atlas V mission to carry the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), a missile warning satellite, remains on schedule for Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, pending final vehicle verifications.

The Atlas launch was set to be the second last of 2017 from Vandenberg, following the successful Falcon 9 mission to carry 10 Iridium satellite into orbit Saturday morning.

Noozhawk is a Santa Barbara-based news website. North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com.

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