A problem with a steering system led to at least a 24- hour delay for Friday's Delta 2 rocket launch attempt with a NASA satellite on board, officials said today.
Liftoff is planned for Saturday morning at the soonest, but mission managers were meeting to review the problem that popped up Wednesday.
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"During final systems checks of the Delta 2 rocket Wednesday in preparation for flight, an anomaly in the motion of a booster steering engine was detected," NASA officials said. "In order to give engineers the additional time required to troubleshoot the issue, the scheduled ... launch attempt was delayed a minimum of 24 hours."
The rocket, with the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer satellite, or WISE, is set blast off from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch window will extend from 6:09:33 to 6:23:51 a.m.
Saturday's rainy weather isn't expected to be suitable for the attempt, with military forecasters calling for an 80-percent likelihood conditions will force a scrub, the same outlook that had been given for a Friday try.
During the satellite's $320 million mission, WISE will map the sky with a sophisticated telescope that astronomers expect will show hundreds of millions of celestial objects, many never seen with such a high-quality camera.