NASA launch of twin science satellites delayed

Aug 24, 2012 by MARCIA DUNN
Screen capture from NASA TV of the Atlas V carrying RBSP on the launch pad at the time of the announcement that the launch would be scrubbed. Credit: NASA TV

(AP)—NASA has delayed the launch of its newest science satellites.

The countdown proceeded all the way down to the four-minute mark early Friday morning at Cape Canaveral in Florida. But a problem cropped up with the rocket's tracking beacon, a mandatory safety item.

NASA tentatively is aiming for another launch attempt Saturday for the Storm Probes—provided the problem can be fixed quickly. Launch director Tim Dunn says engineers need to determine whether the problem is with the beacon itself or ground equipment.

The twin satellites aboard the Atlas V rocket are designed to study Earth's radiation belts. Scientists say the spacecraft will improve forecasting. can damage spacecraft and disrupt life on Earth.

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