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Weather grounds Spaceport America launch

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Poor weather grounded the UP Aerospace rocket that was scheduled to launch into suborbit from Spaceport America on this morning.

“We scrubbed the launch yesterday because the weather forecast for today was not favorable,” UP President and CEO Jerry Larson told the Journal. “There have been thunderstorms coming through the area since yesterday, and they’re projected to continue through Wednesday. We’ve re-scheduled the launch for Thursday morning.”

The rocket, dubbed the SpaceLoft, will carry four payloads paid for by NASA under the agency’s Flight Opportunities Program. That initiative, launched in 2011, pays commercial aerospace companies for suborbital flights to test new technologies in space.

This will be the third UP rocket paid for by NASA, although the company has launched vehicles 13 times at the Spaceport since 2006, when it began operating at the facility’s vertical launch pad. But this is the first time UP has had to re-schedule a launch due to weather.

“We’ve launched 13 times on the day we planned because the weather was always perfect,” Larson said. “New Mexico’s favorable weather is a major asset at the Spaceport. The odds are for this kind of thing to eventually happen, but it’s rare in New Mexico.”