Earth-Observing Satellite Launch Delayed by Wildfire, Ground Leak

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The WorldView-4 satellite was originally scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday (Sept. 16). But he said the blaze required firefighters to be redeployed from standing by at the launch.

The wildfire broke out Saturday in a remote canyon at the southern end of the military base and quickly spread to almost two square miles, according to Wayne Seda, the assistant chief of the Vandenberg Fire Department. More than 400 evacuation calls went out on Sunday, and evacuation warnings remain in place for the San Miguelito Canyon area.

As many as 250 firefighters reportedly were deployed to the Canyon Fire, which was burning on South Base, the area south of West Ocean Avenue (Highway 246) southwest of Lompoc. "It jumped roads at times and came out of the containment lines".

On Sunday night, access to the south base was restricted to mission-essential personnel only until further notice.

Over the weekend, the Canyon fire forced officials to postpone the launch of an Atlas V rocket.

Air Force Lt. William Collette said no new date has been set for launching the WorldView 4 satellite, but United Launch Alliance officials said the launch will be postponed until at least September 26.

Zaniboni said the fire is burning north to northwest toward two launch pads - Space Launch Complex-4, the SpaceX launch site, and SLC-3, where base officials scrubbed Sunday's launch of an Atlas 5 rocket carrying the WorldView 4 satellite.

"According to Col. Paul Nosek, Emergency Operations Center commander, no space launch complexes or critical range assets are in immediate danger".

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