Glitches continue to delay rocket launch from Vandenberg AFB

Streak in sky

Streak in sky

It was pure coincidence that the fireball flashed at 5:34 p.m. PT, just before United Launch Alliance called off the launch of a classified spy satellite known as NROL-71 for the National Reconnaissance Office, due to elevated hydrogen levels that were detected during the countdown.

The launch of a giant Delta IV Heavy from California was scrubbed for a fourth time Wednesday evening, with the clock reset for 5:31 p.m. on Thursday.

The rocket launch has been delayed another day. However, around 5:40 p.m., ULA reports the launch had been scrubbed and they will attempt it again Thursday night. It was also canceled Tuesday due to high winds at the launch site.

When it is eventually launched, the Delta IV Heavy rocket will be carrying a secretive satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. "As the nation's premiere launch provider, the teams have worked diligently to ensure continued mission success, delivering our customer's payloads to the precise orbits requested".

"We are proud to launch this critical payload in support of our nation's national security mission", Gary Wentz, vice president of government and commercial programs at ULA, said in a news release.

ULA has been trying to get the Delta Heavy IV rocket into orbit since December 7.

A unusual light was seen above Reno Wednesday night.

Fireball sighting reports can be filed with the American Meteor Society, which has already received more than 100 reports (and scores of photos).

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