Scrub Delays Delta 4 Launch Until October

CAPE CANAVERAL--A Boeing Delta 4 rocket launch was called off latein the countdown Tuesday evening during a second attempt to launch a weathersatellite.

Boeing will not try tolaunch again today, and because the batteries in the rocket's self-destructsystem have expired, the next attempt is expected to be after the risky"eclipse" period.

During this time, lesssunlight would reach the satellite's solar arrays in orbit, providing lessenergy to charge the batteries during the satellite's initial deployment.

With an August launch nolonger possible, the earliest possible attempt would be Oct. 8, NASA said.

Tuesday's attempt wasscrubbed in the final five minutes when the team saw a battery voltage alarm onthe rocket's second stage.

For now, the GeostationaryOperational Environmental Satellite--the first of a new generation of three--isto act as a second spare for the United States' two active weather spacecraft.There's not a rush to get it to orbit, though having two active satellites isimportant.

"Gaps in data woulddisrupt the National Weather Service's ability to predict not only hurricanes,as many of you here in Florida are well aware of, but also tornadoes, flashfloods and other severe weather," said NOAA's manager for the satellite,Steve Kirkner, in an earlier briefing.

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Chris Kridler
Contributing Writer

Chris Kridler is a writer, editor, photographer and storm chaser who authored a group of storm-chasing adventure novels called Storm Seekers. As a reporter covering space, her subjects have included space shuttle missions, the Mars Rovers from California’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and a Soyuz launch and mission from Kazakhstan and Russia. Much of that work was published through her longtime column at Florida Today. Her photographs have been featured in magazines and books, including the covers of The Journal of Meteorology, the book Winderful, and the Wallace and Hobbs Atmospheric Science textbook. She has also been featured in Popular Photography. Kridler started chasing tornadoes in 1997, and continues the adventure every spring in Tornado Alley.