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04-Feb-09 | NOAA-N′ scrubbed

The first Delta II launch of 2009 will have to wait at least one more day. Today’s launch of NOAA-N′ (“N Prime”) for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was scrubbed during the built-in hold at T-minus 15 minutes due to faulty ground support equipment. A routine check of the gaseous nitrogen system at Vandenberg’s SLC-2W found it to be undercharged, a potentially hazardous condition since the system is used to purge the vehicle’s first-stage tanks during detanking operations.

Launch controllers are hopeful for a 24-hour turnaround and the opportunity for a launch early Thursday. Unfortunately, today’s good weather is not expected to last, and the forecast for tomorrow expects an 80% chance of violating launch criteria, with low clouds, rain, and gusty winds. Somewhat better odds are predicted for subsequent launch windows through the weekend.

Update for 22:30 UTC: Engineers have replaced a faulty relay on the gaseous nitrogen purge system, and the weather report has improved somewhat with the potential for thick clouds having a 60% chance of violating launch criteria. A second launch attempt will be made tonight.

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