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The Latest: California spy satellite launch scrubbed again

December 20, 2018

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the aborted launch of a spy satellite in California (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

The launch of a spy satellite from a Central California base was scrubbed Wednesday night but folks still got a light show.

A hydrogen leak in one engine halted the launch only minutes before takeoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base Wednesday evening. The launch was reset for 5:31 p.m. Thursday.

It’s the fourth time the launch was postponed in the past two weeks. The rocket will carry a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Vandenberg’s sunset launches can be seen for hundreds of miles and about the time of the planned launch, folks in Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area and even farther south reported seeing a strange, shining, cloudlike squiggle in the sky.

Astronomers say it wasn’t a rocket launch but probably a meteor entering the atmosphere.

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6:18 p.m.

The launch of a spy satellite from a Central California coastal base has been scrubbed for the fourth time in two weeks.

The next launch window starts at 5:31 p.m. Thursday.

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

The launch also was scrubbed Tuesday because of high winds and on Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 because of technical problems.

The three-booster Delta IV Heavy rocket that will carry the satellite was built by United Launch Alliance, a conglomerate of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. ULA has launched 27 payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office over the past 12 years.

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