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Atlas 5 Rocket Launch Scrubbed for Today

A problemwith the range safety system that protects the people and property from anout-of-control rocket mishap has forced the cancellation of today's Atlas Vlaunch.

The launchand range safety teams worked into the final minutes of the window trying toget the system cleared for flight, but could not do so.

About 11:40a.m., the mission director decided to scrub the launch. A new liftoff time willbe set for Friday morning. It should be 11:04 a.m.

The Atlas Vis carrying a pair of spy satellites for the NRO. The weather forecast for aFriday launch attempt calls for an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

While thegovernment and its contractors will not discuss the payload, the trade magazineAviation Week & Space Technology reports that the craft are intended totrack ships moving at sea, including those that might hint at terroristactivities or Chinese or Iranian naval tactics.

The payloadfairing atop the rocket sports a logo featuring a tall sailing ship.

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John Kelly

John Kelly is the director of data journalism for ABC-owned TV stations at Walt Disney Television. An investigative reporter and data journalist, John covered space exploration, NASA and aerospace as a reporter for Florida Today for 11 years, four of those on the Space Reporter beat. John earned a journalism degree from the University of Kentucky and wrote for the Shelbyville News and Associated Press before joining Florida Today's space team. In 2013, John joined the data investigation team at USA Today and became director of data journalism there in 2018 before joining Disney in 2019. John is a two-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow award in 2020 and 2021, won a Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2020 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting in 2017. You can follow John on Twitter.