West Coast Atlas rocket launch delayed to October
BY JUSTIN RAY
Posted: April 24, 2003
The Lockheed Martin-made Atlas booster stage and Centaur upper stage have been assembled on the SLC-3E pad for the mission, which had been targeted for June 16.
But undisclosed concerns with the clandestine payload to be propelled into Earth orbit prompted the postponement.
"We have issues with the spacecraft," NRO spokesman Art Haubold said Thursday.
Although a new launch date has not been established, officials are estimating the delay will last about four months.
Although no additional flights are currently slated to use that pad, the NRO says a decision to shut down the pad has not been made.
Officials are keeping their options open, Haubold said.
The NRO has future launches booked on Boeing's new Delta 4 rocket from Vandenberg's SLC-6 pad starting within the next year.