After halting the countdown of
Friday's planned launch of the CloudSat and Calipso satellites just
48 seconds before their Delta II rocket was due to liftoff, NASA
has bumped the launch by 24 hours while scientists work to
determine why communications were lost between the Mission Director
Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Centre National
d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Space Command in Toulouse, France.
"Both the primary and backup were lost simultaneously," NASA
spokesman Bruce Buckingham told the Associated Press.
Communications were restored a short time later.
The rocket is now due to launch from California's Vandenburg Air
Force Base just after 3:00 a.m. PDT Saturday morning.
This wasn't the first time the satellites have been grounded, as
earlier technical problems -- as well as a strike by Boeing
machinists -- kept them grounded last year.
Once in orbit, CloudSat and Calipso will join three other
satellites already analyzing the earth's atmosphere. The two
satellites will help scientists determine how clouds form, and how
they affect weather and climate.