PR — GeoEye, Inc. announced today a slip in the launch of its GeoEye-1 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. While the launch vehicle and satellite are on the pad and ready for a launch later this week, United Launch Alliance (ULA) advised the Company today that Hurricane Hanna’s projected path off the east coast of Florida has impacted the availability of certified Delta II launch specialists available to travel to VAFB to support the GeoEye-1 launch. ULA is currently planning the launch for no earlier than September 7 and is taking all of the steps necessary to support this date. GeoEye will announce a new date as soon as it is confirmed by our launch provider.
The 45th Space Wing at Patrick AFB, Fla., has declared HURCON 4 (Hurricane Condition 4), meaning that there is a storm with sustained winds of greater than 50 knots anticipated within 72 hours at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). Under this condition, personnel may elect to remain with their families for the duration of the storm instead of travelling to California for the GeoEye-1 launch. ULA frequently shifts personnel from coast to coast to support launches.
Bill Schuster, GeoEye’s chief operating officer, said, “Unfortunately, Hurricane Hanna has created this ‘perfect storm’ where despite having the spacecraft and booster ready and expected favorable weather on the West Coast, we are unable to launch due to lack of launch personnel because of weather on the East Coast. We expect to confirm a new launch date very soon, but it’s dependent on Hanna’s storm track and other storms currently in the Atlantic approaching the U.S. landmass.”
The Flight Readiness Review was successfully completed on August 28 establishing that all elements were ready for the upcoming launch and this remains the case as soon as this staffing shortfall caused by the hurricane is resolved.