United Launch Alliance will try again Wednesday to put NASA’s long-awaited Orbiting Carbon Observatory into orbit around Earth for a two-year mission, following a last-minute launch scrub early Tuesday.
A water deluge system at Space Launch Complex 2 at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base failed to activate as planned, triggering the delay.
The system helps protect the pad from high temperatures and potentially damaging acoustic vibrations during launch.
Technicians later traced the problem to a failed valve, NASA said in a statement.
United Launch Alliance will try again at 2:56 a.m. PDT/5:56 a.m. EDT on Wednesday to get its Delta 2 rocket off the pad.
The rocket has just a 30-second launch window to hit its intended orbit. The OCO observatory is to become the lead satellite in a train of remote sending spacecraft in polar orbit around Earth.
OCO is designed to make very detailed, global measurements of concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas tied to global warming.
OCO is a replacement for a nearly identical spacecraft that was destroyed in a 2009 launch accident.