A Delta 4 Heavy NRO rocket lifts off on Aug. 28, 2013, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County. A similar rocket, already delayed twice, is now being delayed a third time. It was set to blast off from Vandenberg at 5:57 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, but now has been rescheduled for the following evening. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

LOS ANGELES — Tuesday evenings planned launch of a rocket carrying a reconnaissance satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County has been scrubbed due to high winds, according to the United Launch Alliance.

The launch is now planned for 5:44 p.m. Wednesday

The thrice-delayed launch of a rocket carrying a reconnaissance satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, if and when it finally lifts off, will potentially give the Southland a holiday-season aerial light show.

According to United Launch Alliance, the Delta IV Heavy rocket, which was set to launch at 5:57 p.m. Tuesday before its latest takeoff was scrubbed, will carry a secretive satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Rocket launches from Vandenberg, particularly those carried out after sundown, have traditionally created spectacular light shows in the skies over Southern California and the southwestern United States.

The ULA launch was scrubbed Dec. 8 just 7.5 seconds before its scheduled liftoff due to a technical glitch. An operational problem had caused a delay in the launch one day prior to that.

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United Launch Alliance is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

“We are proud to launch this critical payload in support of our nations national security mission,” Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of government and commercial programs, said in a statement prior to the two delays. “As the nations premiere launch provider, the teams have worked diligently to ensure continued mission success, delivering our customers payloads to the precise orbits requested.”

According to the company, the Delta IV Heavy rocket includes three Rocketdyne liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engines that can produce a combined 2.1 million pounds of thrust.

ULA has carried out 27 launches for the National Reconnaissance Office over the past 12 years.

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