For the second time in as many days, the planned launch of a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday morning was called off in the final moments, and it has since been rescheduled for Saturday.

The launch, which has now been delayed three times over the past 10 days, was scrubbed Wednesday due to "upper-level winds," according to NASA, which is teaming with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the launch's primary mission. It was immediately rescheduled for exactly 24 hours later, at 1:47 a.m. Thursday, but that target was put in doubt Wednesday afternoon due to expected unfavorable weather conditions.

The launch is now planned for 1:47 a.m. Saturday, VAFB officials reported Thursday morning.

The launch had previously been postponed for 24 hours early Tuesday morning when it was called off just after the 1-minute launch window closed due to what was described as an issue with the rocket's first stage. Before that, it had been scheduled for launch on Nov. 10 but was postponed days prior due to a faulty battery.

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The rocket is set to carry the first satellite of the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), a collaborative effort between NASA and the NOAA.

The JPSS is billed as being the nation's most advanced environmental satellite system and it is expected to aid forecasters in predicting major weather events.

Throughout the delays, the rocket, provided by United Launch Alliance, has remained on its pad at VAFB's Space Launch Complex-2.

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



Willis Jacobson covers news and other issues, primarily those that affect the Lompoc Valley and Vandenberg Air Force Base, for Lee Central Coast News. He is a graduate of The University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.