Steering problem on rocket delays launch

Steering problem on rocket delays launch

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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.

"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.

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