Failure of Launch Pad's Water System Causes Delay in Lift-Off of NASA Carbon-Hunting Satellite

Failure of Launch Pad's Water System Causes Delay in Lift-Off of NASA Carbon-Hunting Satellite

Due to failure in water system of the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the launch of an unmanned Delta 2 rocket was cancelled less than a minute before the liftoff. The rocket was all set to liftoff at 2:56 a.m. PDT from a launch pad that has been used for the first time in three years.

The rocket has been built by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co. The high temperatures and potentially damaging acoustic vibrations from launch are significantly reduced by the pad's water deluge system.

The rocket is used to carry NASA's $465 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory. Orbital Sciences Corp has built the rocket, which will serve the purpose of measuring where carbon dioxide is moving into and out of the atmosphere. This measurement of Carbon is very important as it is a greenhouse gas linked to climate change.

Thirty seconds were all that United Launch Alliance has to get the rocket off the launch pad so that the satellite can be properly positioned at the front of a train of polar-orbiting spacecraft. This spacecraft passes over Earth's equator at the same time every afternoon.

"It's a bit of a disappointment for the launch team when you have a great countdown up to that point. However, these are things that we prepare for. We're a professional team. We know how to handle this", Tim Dunn, NASA launch controller said during the NASA TV broadcast.

A faulty valve in the water system at the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has led to the failure of the launch. A spare was used to replace the valve and another launch attempt will be made on Wednesday (July 2) at 5:56 am.

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