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Vandenberg rocket launch won’t happen Thursday — and maybe not this year

Watch: Late-night missile launch at Vandenberg

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile blasted off for a test launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base late Wednesday night, February 8, 2017. The weapon’s mock re-entry vehicles, equipped to collect data during the testing, travel
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An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile blasted off for a test launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base late Wednesday night, February 8, 2017. The weapon’s mock re-entry vehicles, equipped to collect data during the testing, travel

The Delta IV Heavy rocket launch that has been delayed multiple times will launch no earlier than Dec. 30, the United Launch Alliance said Thursday morning.

The launch was last set for Wednesday evening but was scrapped minutes before liftoff after inspection found a hydrogen leak on one of the engine sections. It was the fourth attempt this month.

Officials originally set a launch date for Thursday, but canceled those plans.

The launch will carry a top-secret payload into orbit for a mission dubbed NROL-71. It was also canceled Tuesday due to high winds at the launch site.

Tribune reporters Kaytlyn Leslie and Nick Wilson contributed to this story.

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Gabby Ferreira is a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. A native of Houston, Texas, she was a reporter in Tucson, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Palm Springs, California, before moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2016.


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