Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Jan. 29, 2003
Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
Mission: Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment
Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL
Launch Pad: Skid Strip, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: January 25, 2003
Launch Time: 3:14 p.m. EST

The Orbital Sciences carrier aircraft departed Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for the launch of Pegasus/SORCE on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 2:17 p.m. The drop of the Pegasus occurred on time at 3:14 p.m. at an altitude of 39,000 feet, 120 nautical miles East-northeast of Cape Canaveral.

The satellite separated from the Pegasus rocket 10 minutes 46 seconds after launch at 3:24 p.m. Seven seconds later the satellite was acquired by the TDRS-East Tracking and Data Relay Satellite which confirmed that SORCE was receiving power from its solar arrays.

The satellite is in a 400-mile-high orbit at an inclination of 40 degrees. The spacecraft's science instruments have been turned on and their state of health is being verified. In approximately three weeks, science observations will begin. For the next five years, the spacecraft will measure from space how the Sun affects the Earth's ozone layer, the circulation of the atmosphere, clouds and oceans.

The SORCE project is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The satellite was constructed by the Orbital Sciences Space Systems Group with science instruments designed and built by the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).

Mission: Galaxy Evolution Explorer
Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL
Launch Pad: Skid Strip, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: April 4, 2003 (Tentative)
Launch Window: 6:50 - 8:50 a.m. EST

At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Orbital Sciences Pegasus launch vehicle is undergoing testing. It has successfully completed the launch vehicle verification test, testing of its flight controls, and a flight simulation.

The launch vehicle is currently planned for ferry to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the L-1011 aircraft on Feb. 18.

The spacecraft, built for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory by the Orbital Sciences Space Systems Group is also undergoing testing and is currently scheduled to arrive at KSC on Feb. 2.

The GALEX mission is led by the California Institute of Technology.

Mission: Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer System
Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 17, Pad A
Launch Date: No earlier than March 29, 2003
Launch Time: To be determined

The Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer System - called ProSEDS - is a tether-based propulsion experiment that draws power from the space environment around Earth, allowing the transfer of energy from the Earth to the spacecraft.

Inexpensive and reusable, ProSeds technology has the potential to turn orbiting, in-space tethers into "space tugboats" - replacing heavy, costly, traditional chemical propulsion and enabling a variety of space-based missions, such as the fuel-free raising and lowering of satellite orbits.

The erection of the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on Pad 17-A is currently scheduled to begin on Feb. 13. Erection of the nine solid rocket boosters is scheduled for Feb. 14-18. The second stage is planned for hoisting atop the first stage on Feb. 19.

ProSEDS is flying as a secondary payload beneath a U.S. Air Force Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite. Once the spacecraft arrives, it will be processed at the Vertical Processing Facility (VPF) located in the KSC Industrial Area. ProSeds will be attached to the Delta second stage at the launch pad on March 17 and followed by electrical connections and a spacecraft functional test.

Mission: Mars Exploration Rovers
Launch Vehicle: Delta II/Delta II Heavy
Launch Pad: 17-A/17-B
Launch Date: May 30/June 25
Launch Time: 2:28 p.m. / 12:34 p.m. EDT

The cruise stage, aeroshell and lander for the MER-2 mission arrived at the KSC Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF) at 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27. The lander was unpacked, cleaned and placed in the high bay on Tuesday. The aeroshell and cruise stage were removed from the shipping container today. The first of the two Mars Exploration rovers will arrive at KSC in February.

Status reports are available at:


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