Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Oct. 30, 2002
Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
Mission: Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-J
Launch Vehicle: Lockheed Martin Atlas IIA (AC-144)
Launch Pad: Launch Complex 36-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: November 20, 2002
Launch Window: 10:36 - 11:16 p.m. EST

The TDRS-J spacecraft is at the Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility-2 in the KSC Industrial Area undergoing electrical testing. Loading of the fuel and oxidizer also scheduled to occur this week has been postponed to no earlier than next week. Additional testing of the TDRS-J single access antenna may be necessary based on the checkout that is currently under way on TDRS-I currently on orbit.

At Pad A on Launch Complex 36, the Simulated Flight (SimFlight) test was successful on Oct. 25. This is an electrical test of the vehicle systems during simulated powered flight from launch through spacecraft separation. Upcoming will be the vehicle's Wet Dress Rehearsal on Nov. 6, a countdown with the vehicle fully fueled with liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen and RP-1 propellants. The final test will be the Composite Electrical Readiness Test (CERT) which occurs after TDRS-J has been mated to the launch vehicle. This will verify that the vehicle and spacecraft are operating on an integrated basis.

NASA is using the 23rd and final Atlas IIA model launch vehicle in the Lockheed Martin inventory for TDRS-J.

Mission: Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment
Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: No earlier than December 13, 2002
Launch Time: 3:09 - 4:09 p.m. EST T-0: 3:14 p.m. EST

SORCE, built by the Orbital Sciences Space Systems Group, arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, Oct. 26 and is undergoing prelaunch testing at the Multipurpose Payload Processing Facility located in the KSC Industrial Area. Charging of the flight batteries was completed yesterday. A Limited Performance Test, an electrical test of the spacecraft lasting 16 hours, is under way today. A solar array lighting test is scheduled for Nov. 5. There are no spacecraft issues or concerns.

The SORCE project is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The instruments on the SORCE spacecraft are built by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).

The silicon seal associated with the interface between the Pegasus rocket and its wing has been replaced with a new seal and will be rebonded with fresh adhesive.

The Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL launch vehicle completed its buildup and testing on Oct. 11 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The mating of the three stages was completed Oct. 15. Two Flight Simulation tests were performed. Flight Simulation No. 1 was successfully completed on Oct. 11 and Flight Simulation No. 2 was completed on Oct. 17.

The ferry to KSC using the Orbital Sciences L-1011 aircraft is scheduled for Nov. 9. Three Flight Simulation tests are planned at KSC prior to launch. NASA is targeting a launch date of Dec. 13 subject to the availability of the Eastern Range.

Mission: Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite / Cosmic Hot Interstellar Spectrometer
Launch Vehicle: Delta II with Dual Payload Attach Fixture (DPAF)
Launch Pad: SLC-2W, Vandenberg Air Force Base
Launch Date: December 19, 2002 (tentative)
Launch Window: 4:09:32 - 5:32:00 p.m. PST

At the Astrotech Space Operations Payload Processing Facility, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System functional test is being performed on ICESAT today. The instruments on ICESAT were developed by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) under a contract with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. There are no ICESAT issues or concerns.

Also at Astrotech, CHIPSAT successfully completed a spacecraft functional test yesterday. This finishes the major prelaunch testing of CHIPSAT with no issues or concerns.

Meanwhile, at Space Launch Complex 2, the first power-on testing of the Boeing Delta II begins today. The first stage of the Delta was erected on Oct. 22, the solid rocket motors were erected on Oct. 24, and the second stage was erected on Oct. 25. Main propulsion system leak checks are scheduled for next week. On Nov. 15, a Crew Certification will be held. This is a countdown to exercise the launch team, and the first stage will be loaded with liquid oxygen. A Simulated Flight (SimFlight) or flight test of the vehicle's electrical and mechanical systems will follow on Nov. 18.

Status reports are available at:


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