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SpaceX Falcon launch at Vandenberg has been delayed

In this 2016 file photo, an Atlas 5 rocket carrying the WorldView-4 satellite is launched at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
In this 2016 file photo, an Atlas 5 rocket carrying the WorldView-4 satellite is launched at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Associated Press

Launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and its cargo must wait at least one more day at Vandenberg Air Force Base after upper-level winds forced mission mangers to scrub Wednesday’s attempt.

Liftoff of the Space Exploration Technologies rocket now is planned for 6:17 a.m. Thursday from Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base.

SpaceX officials said the team would stand down Wednesday due to strong upper-level winds that exceeded safety limits.

“High altitude wind shear data shows a probable 2% load exceedance. Small, but better to be paranoid,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Twitter. “Postponing launch to tomorrow, assuming winds are better then.”

Falcon will carry the PAZ, a high-resolution, radar-imaging spacecraft for Spain.

Also hitching a ride aboard the rocket will be pair of small test satellites for the planned SpaceX Starlink constellation to deliver broadband service across the globe.

This Falcon 9 rocket had initially aimed for a Saturday departure before two delays pushed the launch attempt into the middle of this week.

This will be the first West Coast launch of 2018 for a Falcon 9 rocket. The firm’s second Falcon mission this year from Vandenberg is planned for late March.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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