The final launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket is scheduled to take place at Vandenberg Air Force Base Saturday morning.
A 40-minute launch window begins at 5:46 a.m. Weather is expected to be favorable with visibility of 2-3 miles with fog.
The rocket will carry a NASA satellite into orbit.
NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will use laser pulses to measure the elevation of Earth’s surface. It will help scientists calculate the height of the planet’s terrain and track changes in glaciers, sea ice, lakes, and forests.
How are we studying Earth’s frozen regions? With 2 new missions & technologies! @NASA_ICE scientists will use data from #GRACEFO, which launched in May, and #ICESat2, which is launching Sept. 15 to better understand how frozen water affects our planet: https://t.co/ga8vuS8UxP pic.twitter.com/sloW9cQM2i
— NASA (@NASA) September 14, 2018
The Delta II rocket that will carry the satellite into space will be the last of its kind to take flight.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) is retiring the Delta II as it focuses more on its Delta IV and Atlas V rockets.
According to ULA, McDonnell Douglas created the rocket in the late 1980s to launch GPS satellites for the Air Force. But now, GPS satellites are larger and require larger launch vehicles than the Delta II.
This will be the 155th flight of a Delta II rocket. The first launch was in 1989.