Air Force base wildfire postpones hi-res satellite launch

FeaturesAssociated Press

A wildfire burning at a central California Air Force base on Sunday forced the postponement of a satellite launch, officials said.

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An Atlas 5 rocket was to carry a satellite known as WorldView-4 into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The satellite is designed to produce high-resolution images of Earth from space.

The fire burning in a remote canyon didn't immediately threaten the space launch complex, Col. Paul Nosek said on the base's Facebook page. But he said firefighters needed to be redeployed from stand-by at the launch because of the blaze.

Nearly 800 firefighters were trying to corral the fire that was slightly less than a square mile in size.

No new date was set for the launch, Lt. William Collette said.

WorldView-4 is the latest in a series of imaging satellites built by Lockheed Martin. It is operated by Colorado-based DigitalGlobe, which provides images for government and private customers.

The satellite is designed to spot the make of a car from nearly 400 miles above Earth.