Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
LAUNCH OF NEAR ON SCHEDULE--POLAR LAUNCH RETARGETED
With all prelaunch preparations proceeding smoothly, managers have decided that the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission will be NASA’s next expendable vehicle launch. Liftoff is scheduled on Feb. 16 from Pad B at Launch Complex 17. The launch window extends from 3:53:07 p.m. to 3:54:07 p.m. EST, a duration of one minute.
Launch of NASA’s Polar spacecraft, to occur from NASA’s Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, is planned for Feb. 22. The launch window extends from 3:22 a.m. to 3:47 a.m. PST, a duration of 25 minutes. Activities to prepare for the Polar launch have also been going well, and the spacecraft was erected atop the McDonnell Douglas Delta II rocket on Tuesday, Jan. 23. At Launch Complex 17 on Cape Canaveral Air Station, the Delta II vehicle for NEAR completes buildup today. The first stage was erected on January 19. The solid rocket boosters were erected this week on Jan. 22-24. The second stage was hoisted atop the first stage yesterday, and the fairing, which will be placed around the NEAR spacecraft is being hoisted for installation in the pad clean room today.
NEAR spacecraft systems checkout is now complete. Yesterday, NEAR was transported from NASA Hangar AE on Cape Canaveral Air Station to the Spacecraft Encapsulation and Assembly Facility (SAEF-2) on Kennedy Space Center. There the spacecraft is to be fueled with its control propellant, the solar arrays will be attached and mating to the solid propellant upper stage will be performed. The NEAR/third stage combination is scheduled to be transported to Complex 17 for mating to the Delta II vehicle on Feb. 8.
Status reports are available at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/status/index.html
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