Southern California breaking news and trends

Defense rocket launch delayed at Vandenberg

atlas v

Screenshot via United Launch Alliance

The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base published a media advisory Wednesday night announcing the initial delay of the Atlas V launch. A second push was issued some time later with the rescheduled launch now expected Aug. 4. 

An "uprange instrumentation issue" kept the rocket Earth-bound, however no issues were reported with the Atlas V vehicle or the NROL-36 space vehicle.

The launch window is now set for Aug 4 at 12:13 a.m., and a live simulcast will begin on the ULA website about 20 minutes prior to launch. ULA is a Lockheed Martin and Boeing joint venture providing "access to space" for U.S. government missions.

Satnews, a satellite news website, posted technical details along with ULA's mission description that lays the launch on the National Reconnaissance Office in support of national defense.


Xombie rocket tests vertical landing near LA

xombie rocket

Screenshot via YouTube

Xombie rocket test.

The privately built "Xombie" rocket made its first free-flight at the Mojave Air and Space Port about 90 miles north of Los Angeles earlier this month.

The Masten Space Systems rocket is part of a NASA program that's testing vertical landing systems for solar system exploration.

Unmanned, the Xombie rocket lifted off the ground, flew horizontally and landed at a pad 164 feet away. The entire demonstration took 67 seconds.

Masten won a $1 million prize using the Xombie rocket in 2009 as part of a NASA-backed simulated lunar landing contest. In 2010, Masten and Armadillo Aerospace were awarded $475,000 from NASA to test vehicles capable of carrying small payloads to near-space.