Rocket launch from Virginia scrubs a third time
This time the countdown got to within 2 minutes and 15 seconds of liftoff, but a low-voltage reading from somewhere inside the Minotaur 1 rocket or its payload last night aborted the count at about 10:43 p.m. It was the third time this week attempts to send five small satellites into orbit from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia fell short. The first two attempts were halted by bad weather.
Launch managers decided not to try a fourth time Saturday evening. The tracking facilities at Wallops will now be transitioned to assist with the planned launch of the space shuttle Atlantis from Cape Canaveral in Florida. That launch is planned for 2 p.m. Monday. The Atlantis crew is headed for the Hubble Space Telescope for a week of repairs and upgrades.
The Minotaur 1 launch, if successful, would be only the third flight to orbit from the NASA launch center on Virginia's Eastern Shore. The payload includes an Air Force TacSat-3 technology experiment, a NASA biological experiment and three "pico-satellites" built by university and commercial owners.
If skies are clear, the Minotaur launches from Virginia can be seen for hundreds of miles.