A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket lifted off Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with the JPSS 1 weather satellite, the first in a new line of polar-orbiting observatories for NOAA.
The 128-foot-tall (39-meter) rocket climbed into the sky from Space Launch Complex 2-West at 1:47:36 a.m. EST (4:47:36 a.m. EST; 0947:36 GMT) Saturday after back-to-back scrubbed countdowns earlier in the week.
The Delta 2 rode nearly 800,000 pounds of thrust from six ground-lit solid rocket boosters and an RS-27A main engine. Three more solid-fueled boosters ignited in flight about a minute after liftoff.
Saturday’s launch marked the penultimate flight of a Delta 2 rocket, a workhorse for NASA, the U.S. Air Force and commercial customers since it debuted in 1989.
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