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US weather satellite launch deferred

The Delta II rocket and NOAA-N Prime spacecraft on the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Photo credit: Carleton Bailie/United Launch Alliance

CALIFORNIA (BNS): The scheduled launch of a rocket carrying the US weather satellite from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base has been rescheduled for Thursday due to technical reasons.

The NOAA-N Prime satellite was scheduled to be launched aboard a Delta 2 rocket early Wednesday, but the mission was put off after a problem with gaseous nitrogen system, which is used to pressurise the liquid oxygen tank and control systems was detected.

The launch is expected to be the last in a series of polar-orbiting satellites that have been observing Earth's weather since 1960. NOAA-N Prime has sensors that will be used in the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking System to monitor for distress signals around the world.

However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which manages the $ 564 million mission, did not immediately say when the launch would take place.

The weather office has predicted rains from Thursday till the weekend which could pose some problems.

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