NASA’s carbon dioxide-tracking satellite will have to wait another day to shoot into space.
The U.S. space agency called off the launch of the Delta 2 rocket that was carrying the satellite less than a minute before liftoff when the pad’s water system failed, a live NASA Television broadcast showed.
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 was slated to launch at 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 a.m. EDT) Tuesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the Central California coast. The $468 million mission will help scientists identify concentrations of carbon on Earth and assess how its levels may increase in the future.
The launch pad’s water system is needed to put out possible fires and to suppress potentially damaging acoustic vibrations from the liftoff, Reuters noted. The pad at Vandenberg had not been used in nearly three years.
Because the rocket has only a 30-second window to launch, mission controllers did not have time to analyze the water system issue and get the Delta 2 rocket back on track for launch Tuesday morning, Space.com reported.
“It’s a bit of a disappointment for the launch team when you have a great countdown up to that point,” launch controller Tim Dunn said during the live broadcast. “However, these are things that we prepare for. We’re a professional team. We know how to handle this.”
NASA has tentatively rescheduled the launch for Wednesday, though that depends on whether engineers can track down the cause of the water system problem, launch commentator George Diller said.