NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The launch of the Antares rocket, the most powerful rocket to lift off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, was scrubbed for a second time on Saturday due to high winds.
The lift off was scheduled for 5 p.m. but upper level winds were stronger than anticipated, said Barron Beneski, spokesman for rocket-maker Orbital Sciences Corp.
Beneski said the rocket can launch in winds up to 20 knots, but the concern is safety.
It was a range safety issue, he said. If something were to happen, where would the debris and toxins go?
Weather balloons sent back condition “red” data, meaning the upper level wind directions were not safe.
Beneski said because the rocket had not yet been fueled, the launch team could delay a day. Had the rocket been fueled, as it was for the April 17 launch attempt, it would not be possible to try again 24 hours later.
NASA and Orbital have a two-hour launch window. The next window is from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday.