Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 22
Atlas V launch from Vandenberg delayed
BY JEREMY THOMAS
The scheduled launch of an Atlas V rocket, the fifth such launch from the West Coast, has been delayed until Aug. 14 at the earliest, Vandenberg Air Force Base officials said.
The launch was originally set for Aug. 2, but has been postponed due to a malfunction that occurred in Vandenberg’s Mission Flight Control Center during countdown on the initial attempt, according to base spokesman Lt. Austin Fallin. The control center is comprised of more than 80 computer servers and processes radar, transmitting optical and telemetry data from instruments located on and off base to the mission control officer.
“Because public safety is the primary concern of the 30th Space Wing during launch operations, we stopped countdown once the issue was identified,” Fallin wrote in an e-mail to the Sun. “Our team has been working since then to identify the cause of the malfunction and to test and certify the [control center] for operations so Vandenberg can support a safe launch.”
Once sent successfully from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-3, the United Launch Alliance-manufactured rocket will take its classified NROL-36 vehicle into space for the National Reconnaissance Office, and deploy 11 small “CubeSat” satellites commissioned by labs, universities, and government entities.
After the top-secret payload’s delivery, the Atlas V’s Operationally Unique Technologies Satellite (OUTSat) is scheduled to send out the CubeSats, four of which come from NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNA) program. The Kennedy Space Center’s ELaNA program provides college students with real-life experience in the space business.
Other institutions with satellites aboard the rocket include Cal Poly, the University of California, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Morehead State. Seven satellites originated from the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, the Aerospace Corp., the University of Southern California, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The CubeSats will demonstrate technologies, conduct scientific experiments, and prove operational concepts, Vandenberg officials said.
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