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Weather Scrubs NASA's Second RBSP Launch Attempt

Weather moves in over SLC-41 and the Atlas-V rocket with NASA's twin RBSP spacecraft. Photo Credit: Mike Killian for Zero-G News and AmericaSpace

Weather moves in over SLC-41 and the Atlas-V rocket with NASA’s twin RBSP spacecraft. Photo Credit: Mike Killian for Zero-G News and AmericaSpace

NASA’s RBSP mission will have to wait at least 24 more hours before trying to launch for a third time.  Weather in the form of cumulous clouds and lightning scrubbed Saturday morning’s launch attempt.

Should launch teams decide to push for another launch attempt this weekend, the weather forecasts deteriorate to 40% odds of favorable conditions, with thick clouds and potential for storms being the primary concern.  A tropical storm in the Atlantic is expected to skirt Florida’s gulf coast Sunday evening into Monday, and the outer bands will undoubtedly prohibit any launch attempts at the beginning of next week.

Launch teams are currently safeing the Atlas-V launch vehicle and draining fuel from the rocket, and will prepare to try for a third launch attempt at 4:07 a.m. EDT Sunday morning.  It is possible that launch teams will decide to stand down and move the vehicle back into the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) to ride out the coming storm and try for another launch attempt after it passes, but nothing has been confirmed by United Launch Alliance as of yet.

– UPDATE AS OF 7:30 a.m. EDT:

From United Launch Alliance – With the unfavorable weather forecast as a result of Tropical Storm Isaac, the leadership team has decided to roll the Atlas V vehicle back to the Vertical Integration Facility to ensure the launch vehicle and twin RBSP spacecraft are secured and protected from inclement weather. Pending approval from the range, the launch is rescheduled to Thursday, Aug. 30 at 4:05 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

 

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