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Delta II delayed 48 hours after inspection shows loose cork

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg's launch of a Delta II rocket scheduled for Wednesday was delayed for 48 hours after post launch inspections revealed an area of de-bonded cork on the launch vehicle. Cork insulates the rocket from excessive heat.  Teams are working to fix the issue and a launch date will be set once maintenance is completed.

"The cork is part of the rocket's thermal insulation on the outside of core booster primarily supporting the liquid oxygen tanks" said ULA representatives. "It is normal for some loosening or de-bonding of cork to occur after a cycling of the tank for launch with the temperatures it experiences."

This repair process will take place beginning Thursday and mission managers will meet later in the afternoon to discuss the progress of the repairs.

The rocket will lift off from Space Launch Complex-2 carrying the Thales Alenia-Space COSMO-SkyMed 2 Satellite.

This will be the second of two COSMO-SkyMed satellite launches from Vandenberg this year. The satellite is an end-to-end Earth observation dual-use (civilian and military) system composed of four satellites and ground stations.