Published: Fri, December 21, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

California spy satellite launch scrubbed again

California spy satellite launch scrubbed again

California's skies are regularly peppered with the bright trails of rockets blasting off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc. "The launch time is planned for 5:31 p.m. PST".

Who knows? Maybe there'll be another sunset fireball to celebrate a successful Delta 4 Heavy launch - after what are now four postponements.

A bright, strange-looking light streaked across Northern California on Wednesday night, its appearance coinciding with a scrapped rocket launch and leaving the Twitterverse asking, "So, what's that in the sky?"

As local news reports explained, the National Weather Service believed it to be a "Noctilucent cloud", which can sometimes be created when a space rock zips through the upper atmosphere. They could not confirm if it was connected to the scrubbed rocket launch but said there is "no threat to the homeland".

Launches from the base northwest of Los Angeles can light up the sky for hundreds of miles.

On Wednesday night, United Launch Alliance had hoped to launch a Delta IV Heavy rocket out of the Central Coast's Vandenberg Air Force Base. However, that launch was scrubbed due to a hydrogen leak (the second time in about two weeks), but luckily Mother Nature stepped in with an all natural light show.

ULA has carried out 27 launches for the National Reconnaissance Office over the past 12 years.

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