Air Force base wildfire postpones hi-res satellite launch

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — A wildfire burning at a central California Air Force base on Sunday forced the postponement of a satellite launch, officials said.

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 the blaze required firefighters to be redeployed from standing by at the launch.

Nearly 800 firefighters were trying to corral the fire that was nearly 2 square miles in size.

The launch will be postponed until at least Sept. 26, according to United Launch Alliance, a joint venture by Lockheed Martin and Boeing Co.

The satellite 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 (643.71 kilometers) above Earth.

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