MISSION: Cloud-Aerosol Lidar & Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation/CloudSat (CALIPSO/CloudSat)
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Boeing Delta 7420 with Dual Payload Attach Fitting (DPAF)
LAUNCH PAD: Space Launch Complex 2
LAUNCH SITE: Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California
LAUNCH DATE: No earlier than February 2006
LAUNCH WINDOW: TBD
Due to a lack of resolution of the Boeing labor strike and other issues, the CALIPSO/CloudSat launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base will not occur during December as hoped. The earliest possible launch timeframe is mid-February 2006. The two spacecrafts are being prepared for an extended period in the Astrotech payload processing facilities located on North Vandenberg.
The Western Range will begin a long-planned two-month period of maintenance, upgrades and refurbishment to the Range Safety tracking facilities, computers and launch support equipment beginning Dec. 19. The Navy down range tracking assets deployed from Point Mugu Naval Air Station in California will also be affected and are required for support of consecutive multiple launch attempts of CALIPSO-CloudSat.
While progress has been made on the problems encountered during testing of the Flight Termination System batteries, Boeing has not yet been able to formally determine and document a root cause of the problem for engineering review. Approximately 15 days will be necessary to prepare for launch once all of the above issues are fully resolved.
MISSION: New Horizons
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Lockheed Martin Atlas V 551 (AV-010)
LAUNCH PAD: Complex 41
LAUNCH SITE: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
LAUNCH DATE: Jan. 11, 2006
LAUNCH WINDOW: 2:08 to 4:07 p.m. EST
The Applied Physics Lab team continues to perform additional testing of the autonomy software system to confirm that it would take appropriate safing actions if an onboard fault or unplanned conditions occurred after New Horizons is far away from the Earth. The scope of this testing has expanded, requiring additional days for ground processing to ensure a successful mission. As a result, encapsulation is six days behind schedule, but the Jan. 11 launch date has not been disturbed. Encapsulation of New Horizons into the vehicle fairing is scheduled for Dec. 12, followed by transportation to Launch Complex 41 for mating to the Atlas V on Dec. 16.
The fifth and final solid rocket booster has arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and was mated to the Atlas V at the Vehicle Integration Facility today.
Boeing's delivery of the third stage to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility is on schedule for Dec. 1. Mating with the New Horizons spacecraft is scheduled for Dec. 9. Hydrazine fuel for attitude control and course-correction maneuvers is scheduled to be loaded aboard the spacecraft on Dec. 4, followed by a "wet" spin balance test with fuel aboard on Dec. 6-7. A tanking test of the Atlas V launch vehicle is scheduled for Dec. 5.
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George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.