The Atlas 5 launch of a commercial remote sensing satellite is on hold for at least a week because of a wildfire near its California launch pad.

The Atlas 5 was to launch the WorldView-4 satellite on Friday, but controllers scrubbed that launch attempt because of a leak in ground equipment during propellant loading.

The launch was rescheduled for Sunday, but that was also postponed after a fire broke out on Vandenberg Air Force Base property. The fire does not immediately threaten any launch sites, but the effort needed by base personnel to contain it led the Air Force and United Launch Alliance to delay the launch to no earlier than Sept. 26. [AP]

WorldView-4 background:

DigitalGlobe reports commercial growth ahead of WorldView-4 launch

WorldView-4’s long road to launch 
about to pay off for DigitalGlobe

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The launch of a Soyuz to the ISS scheduled for this week has been delayed for technical reasons. Roscosmos announced Saturday the launch of the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft, carrying American astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, will not launch as previously scheduled Sept. 23. Russian sources later said a short circuit associated with the launch vehicle’s fairing was the cause of the delay, which may push the launch back until early October. It’s unclear what effect that delay will have on upcoming missions to and from the station. [CBS]

The longtime head of Arianespace’s U.S. subsidiary is leaving the company to work for Blue Origin. Clay Mowry announced Friday he was leaving Arianespace to take a position with Blue Origin. Mowry had been president of Washington-based Arianespace Inc. for 15 years. Wiener Kernisan, Arianespace Inc.’s vice president for sales and marketing, will succeed Mowry. [SpaceNews]

Several senators have introduced NASA authorization legislation that would, among other provisions, require a critical reexamination of the Asteroid Redirect Mission. The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016, introduced by a bipartisan group of senators Thursday, would authorize funding for NASA for fiscal year 2017. Its policy provisions include a requirement that NASA study alternatives for ARM that could be more effective and cost-efficient ways of demonstrating technology needed for Mars missions. The bill also requires NASA develop an exploration framework leading to human missions to Mars in the 2030s. The Senate Commerce Committee will take up the bill on Wednesday. [SpaceNews]

A decision by Airbus Defence and Space to invest in four high-resolution imaging satellites comes with no guarantee of French government support. Airbus announced last week its plans to develop the four satellites for launch in 2020 and 2021 to provide very high resolution images and provide continuity for the existing two Pléiades satellites. Airbus will fund their development, and a French general said the French military has given the company no guarantees it will purchase images from those satellites. [SpaceNews]

Rocket Lab has reached an agreement with the New Zealand government to permit the company’s initial launches. The contract, announced Friday by the country’s economic development minister, will allow Rocket Lab to conduct Electron launches from a launch site on New Zealand’s North Island until legislation regulating commercial launches is enacted next year. Rocket Lab hopes to carry out its first Electron launch by the end of this year. [TVNZ]

Federal officials are studying potential safety issues regarding liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals planned for near SpaceX’s future Texas launch site. Three LNG plants have been proposed for the Port of Brownsville, less than 10 kilometers from where SpaceX is building its Boca Chica launch site. Both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration are studying any issues about the safety of the LNG facilities in the event of a launch accident from Boca Chica, although the terminal developers don’t expect any problems. [San Antonio Business Journal]

Construction of a long-awaited road to New Mexico’s Spaceport America could finally begin next spring. The so-called “southern road” project would upgrade an existing dirt road, shortening the travel time for spaceport visitors coming from the south. An agreement between the spaceport authority and the Bureau of Land Management for the road work should be signed next month, allowing for work to begin next April. It would take about one year to build the road. [Las Cruces (N.M.) Sun-News]

Elon Musk is dropping more hints about his Mars — and perhaps beyond — exploration plans. Musk said in a tweet Friday that the Mars Colonial Transporter, a spacecraft that would transport crews and cargo to and from Mars, “can go well beyond Mars, so will need a new name.” Not surprisingly, there was no shortage of suggestions from Musk’s Twitter followers about a name. Musk is still scheduled to unveil his Mars mission architecture, which will also likely include a new heavy-lift launch vehicle, at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico next week. [Ars Tehcnica]

Brian Berger is editor in chief of and the SpaceNews magazine. He joined in 1998, spending his first decade with the publication covering NASA. His reporting on the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident was...