Spaceflight Insider

Launches of Worldview-4, GOES-R delayed

Atlas V WorldView-3 File Photo

An archive photo of an Atlas V 401 with WorldView-3. Photo Credit: ULA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA) has been waiting to send DigitalGlobe’s Worldview-4 Earth-observing satellite to orbit for some time now. However, the company will have to wait a little longer as an issue cropped up during final preparations for launch. This issue has also impacted the flight of NOAA’s GOES-R satellite.

Worldview-4 was slated to launch on Sept. 16 of this year (2016); however, a leak on a hydrogen line forced a scrub, a delay which was compounded by a wildfire that threatened Space Launch Complex 3E (East) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. At present, that mission is now slated to take to the skies no earlier than Nov. 11. ULA teams are targeting a launch window between 1:30 p.m. and 1:46 p.m. EST (18:30–18:46 GMT).

ULA linked the delays of WorldView-4 and GOES-R via a statement issued by the company late in the day on Nov. 3:

The launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V carrying the GOES-R weather satellite for NASA and NOAA is being rescheduled. The postponement was caused by the same minor Atlas V booster issue discovered on the WorldView-4 mission scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The team is actively working towards a resolution. A new launch date will be released once it is established.

GOES-R has also seen its share of delays, with one of the most recent caused by the Oct. 7 pass of Hurricane Matthew over Florida’s Space Coast.

Both spacecraft are slated to use different versions of the Atlas V launch vehicle. Worldview-4 will fly on a 401 variant, while GOES-R will launch via a 541. The first number in the designation refers to the size of the payload fairing in meters, the second to the quantity of AJ60A solid rocket motors used, and the last to the number of engines in the rocket’s upper stage.



Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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