The scheduled 66th launch of an Atlas V rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base has been put on hold until Sunday.
“They had a finding on the ground system that we use to tank liquid hydrogen into the upper stage, we had some out of family data that looked like some potential small leakage”, says United Launch Alliance team member Matt Donovan, “due to that, we decided to delay the launch in an abundance of caution, you only get a chance to do this right once.”
The payload for the Atlas V is a WorldView 4 satellite that will provide Earth imaging data for Google Maps, Bing Maps and other high tech utilities.
The Atlas V launch delay means dozens of ULA team members and other visitors that have come to the area for the launch will now extend their stay by a couple of days, to the delight of local hotels and restaurants that rely on the launch industry at Vandenberg AFB for business.
“We send down the critical engineering team and management team to be able to launch”, Donovan says about the total launch contingent, “its great to be able to support Lompoc and the surrounding area, we’ve got people out here from the Cape (Canaveral in Florida), Denver and we’ve got our Vandenberg team here in order to get the launch done.”
The launch window on Sunday opens at 11:30am.
If its a clear day, the launch of the $160 million Atlas V should be easily visible across the Central Coast.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed.