WASHINGTON — The launch of a classified U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payload has been pushed back another week, to Sept. 13, because of continuing launch range issues, United Launch Alliance said Aug. 22.

The NROL-36 mission originally was scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force base, Calif., Aug. 2 aboard an Atlas 5 rocket but was rescheduled because a range instrumentation issue that developed during the initial attempt.

The most recent target date of Sept. 6 proved unfeasible because the range was not available, and Sept. 13 was selected for “overall operational considerations,” the launch services provider said in a press release.

There are no issues with either the satellite or the launch vehicle, according to Denver-based United Launch Alliance, which builds and operates the Atlas and Delta rockets used to launch most U.S. government payloads. Teams are working to fix the range instrumentation issue and are now finalizing corrective actions, the company said.

NROL-36 is the fourth and last NRO mission planned for 2012.



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