Mysterious light seen in California sky prompts speculation

21 December, 2018, 01:00 | Author: Bridget Leonard
  • A Delta Heavy IV rocket sits on the launch pad of Vandenberg Air Force Base on Dec. 19 2018

The rocket was scheduled to blast-off from Space Launch Complex 6 at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base at 8:44 p.m. EST, 5:44 p.m. local time.

The NROL-71 mission faces yet another delay, though ULA declined to provide a reason for this scrub. But controllers called the attempt off about 10 minutes before the planned launch, after noticing an issue with the rocket.

December 30 will be the earliest possible date for the sixth attempting at launching the 233-foot-tall rocket, which is set to deploy a classified satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

The launch was tentatively reset for 5:31 p.m. Thursday.


The leak prompted ULA to postpone the launch again for approximately 24 hours.

On Wednesday night, United Launch Alliance had hoped to launch a Delta IV Heavy rocket out of the Central Coast's Vandenberg Air Force Base.

According to the company, the Delta IV Heavy rocket includes three Rocketdyne liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engines that can produce a combined 2.1 million pounds of thrust.

Many in California are used to seeing odd bursts of light after SpaceX rocket launches but that does not appear to be the case this time. KCAL9's Evelyn Taft reports the light is believed to have been ice crystals that formed when a meteor hit the Earth's atmosphere.

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