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PAZ satellite (copy)

An artist's rendering of the PAZ satellite, which is scheduled to be launched into orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch, which had initially been planned for Saturday, is now set for Sunday morning.

Contributed by Airbus

SpaceX's first launch of the year from Vandenberg Air Force Base is now set to occur a day later than initially planned.

The launch of a Falcon 9 rocket, as part of the Spanish PAZ mission, was pushed back to Sunday, SpaceX announced Thursday night. The launch had been scheduled for Saturday morning. The new launch window will open at 6:16 a.m. Sunday, VAFB officials revealed Friday morning.

"Now targeting February 18 launch of PAZ from [Space Launch Complex-4] to allow for additional time for pre-launch systems checks," read a tweet that was sent out Thursday evening by the official SpaceX Twitter account. "Falcon 9 and payload remain healthy."

The primary mission for the launch is to send the 3,000-pound PAZ satellite into orbit. The satellite was developed by Airbus, a commercial aircraft manufacturer, and HISDESAT, a Spanish government satellite services operator that deals primarily in the areas of defense, security, intelligence and foreign affairs.

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PAZ, which is Spanish for “peace,” will carry a radar-imaging payload to collect views of Earth to “address civilian needs with multiple applications,” according to the company's website. It is Spain's first radar satellite.

The satellite is designed for a mission of five and a half years and is set to orbit Earth 15 times per day.

If it goes off Sunday as planned, the launch will be the first at the base this year from SpaceX and just the second overall at the base. A Delta IV rocket, provided by United Launch Alliance, blasted off from the base on Jan. 12 carrying a secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. 

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.