High wind delayed the launch Wednesday of the Mars Global Surveyor, the first of 10 spacecraft to be sent to the Red Planet by NASA over the next decade.
Launch officials said they will try again at midday today to dispatch the Global Surveyor on its 435 millionmile, 10-month journey to Mars.
Thick rain clouds scuttled the first launch attempt. The sky cleared just in time for the second, and last, attempt of the day, but the wind accelerated with just one minute remaining in the countdown.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has until Nov. 25 to launch the Global Surveyor on the Delta rocket. Otherwise it will have to wait two years until the planets are in proper alignment.
The probe is composed mostly of leftover parts from the Mars Observer, which fell silent just three days before it was supposed to arrive at the Red Planet in August 1993.
The Global Surveyor should reach Mars in September 1997 and begin mapping the planet six months later from a 235-mile-high orbit.