CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A second attempt to launch a U.S. Navy communications satellite into space was scrubbed late Friday due to poor weather, a spacecraft-launch service said.
The next opportunity for an Atlas V rocket launch will be Wednesday, said United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., created to provide spacecraft-launch services to the U.S. government. Its customers include the Defense Department and NASA.
Thick clouds and upper-level winds prevented the launch from happening during the window that opened at 5:42 p.m. EST, ULA said. Weather conditions had been predicted to be 40 percent favorable.
It was the launch's second scrub in two days.
Poor weather forecast for the next few days, and limited availability at the U.S. Air Force rocket range that supports missile and rocket launches from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, forced the five-day delay, said ULA, based in Centennial, Colo.
The Atlas V rocket is to carry a Navy satellite intended to enhance tactical communications with voice, video and data communications for U.S. armed forces, ULA said. It is the largest payload ever to be launched on an Atlas V rocket, weighing 15,000 pounds fully fueled, and is 22 feet tall, Florida Today of Melbourne, 30 miles from Cape Canaveral, reported.
Once in orbit, the satellite is expected to become four smaller satellites, the newspaper said. Ground crews are to establish communications, and each satellite is to be sent to a planned orbit within 10 days, creating constant global communication for troops on the ground.
The satellites are expected to operate for 15 years, the newspaper said.