Friday, May 06, 2011

Atlas V Launch Rescheduled For Saturday

A second attempt will be made Saturday to send up a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on a mission to deliver a new-generation U.S. missile-warning satellite into an orbit 22,300 miles above Earth.

The 19-story Atlas V and its payload -- a $1.2 billion Space-Based Infrared System spacecraft -- are scheduled to blast off from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at during a launch window that will extend from 2:10 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.

An initial attempt Friday afternoon was scrubbed when thick, electrically charged clouds swept into the area. Launching a rocket through cumulus clouds could trigger bolts of lightning that could destroy the Atlas V and its costly cargo.

The weather forecast for Saturday is near-perfect. Air Force meteorologists say there is a 90 percent chance conditions will be acceptable for flight.

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