NASA has set the launch of the Swift spacecraft for no earlier than Saturday, Nov. 20. The one-hour launch window opens at 12:10 p.m. EST.
Mission managers met this afternoon to confirm the work necessary for a Saturday launch attempt is on schedule. Since the team was not able to repeat the anomalous condition that was seen earlier on the Command Receiver Decoder system, the suspect components are being replaced. The system will be retested Friday, Nov. 19.
Retraction of the mobile service tower, the gantry surrounding the Delta II, is scheduled to occur at 3 a.m. on Saturday. Loading of RP-1, a highly refined kerosene fuel, aboard the first stage, is scheduled to begin at approximately 9:40 a.m. on Saturday. Loading of the cryogenic liquid oxygen into the first stage will begin approximately one hour later.
Swift is a medium-class Explorer mission managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The observatory was built for NASA by Spectrum Astro, a division of General Dynamics. The Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for Swift's integration with the Boeing Delta II rocket and the countdown management on launch day.MISSION: Deep Impact
NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft arrived in Florida on Oct. 23 to begin final preparations for launch on Dec. 30. The spacecraft was shipped from Ball Aerospace & Technologies in Boulder, Colo., to the Astrotech Space Operations facility located near the Kennedy Space Center.
Deep Impact was removed from its shipping container and is undergoing its Functional and Mission Readiness testing, scheduled for completion on Nov. 23. These tests involve the entire spacecraft flight system (including the flyby and impactor, associated science instruments and the spacecraft's basic subsystems), along with loading updated flight software.
The high gain antenna used for spacecraft communications will be installed on Nov. 29. The solar array will then be stowed and an illumination test performed as a final check of its performance on Nov. 30. Deep Impact will then be ready to begin preparation for fueling on Dec. 6 and is scheduled to be completed on Dec. 9.
The stacking of the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on Pad 17-B will begin on Nov. 22 with the hoisting of the first stage into the launcher. Hoisting of the nine strap-on solid rocket boosters, in sets of three, is scheduled for Nov. 23, Nov. 29, and Dec. 1. The second stage will be hoisted into position atop the first stage on Dec. 3.
The overall Deep Impact mission management for this Discovery class program is conducted by the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. Deep Impact project management is handled by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The spacecraft has been built for NASA by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation.