Range Issues Foil RBSP

Image Credit: Mike Killian – AmericaSpace / ARES Institute

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — NASA and United Launch Alliance (ULA) were all set to launch the Radiation Belt Storm Probe mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-41 in Florida – but it was not to be. Weather was not an issue with mostly-clear skies and a 70 percent chance of favorable conditions for launch. The problem turned out to be related to an issue that bedeviled ULA at another launch site.

At around 4 a.m. the launch poll was held and a mandatory range tracking beacon issue was discovered. The launch team attempted to clear the issue and launch at 4:25 a.m. EDT. This was just two minutes before the launch window closed. The problem could not be resolved and the launch was scrubbed for 24 hours.

Both the launch vehicle and twin RBSP spacecraft are secured at this time. Tomorrow’s launch time is virtually the same as this morning’s at 4:07 a.m. EDT. Weather conditions are predicted to provide a 60 percent chance of favorable conditions for launch.

Coincidentally ULA has had to repeatedly reschedule the launch of a national security satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, NRO L-36, due to range instrumentation issues. That launch is now slated to take place on Sept. 13 from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Calif.

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