Damaged Air Force radar delays satellite launches
- By George Leopold
- Mar 31, 2014
An Air Force radar network used to track rockets as they fly downrange from Cape Canaveral, Fla., will be out of commission through at least mid-April after the system was damaged by an electrical short.
The outage will delay for at least three weeks the launch of a classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite that was scheduled for liftoff on March 25 aboard an Atlas V rocket. NASA said firefighters responded to a fire at a radar tracking station at the Kennedy Space Center on March 24.
“An investigation revealed a tracking radar experienced an electrical short, overheating the unit and rendering it inoperable,” the Air Force's 45th Space Wing said in a statement.
Also delayed for at least three weeks is a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch that was scheduled for March 30.
The Air Force radar is used to track the flight path of rockets launched over the Atlantic Ocean. Range safety officers can send a destruct signal to destroy a rocket if it strays off course.