Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Feb. 12, 2003
Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
Mission: Galaxy Evolution Explorer
Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL
Launch Pad: Skid Strip, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: March 25, 2003 (Tentative)
Launch Window: 6:50 - 8:50 a.m. EST (Drop time 7:00 a.m.)

At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Orbital Sciences Pegasus launch vehicle completed the second scheduled flight simulation on Sunday, Feb. 2. All data from the test was nominal. The payload fairing installation began on Monday, Feb. 10 and will be completed on Thursday, Feb. 13. The launch vehicle rollout and mate to the L-1011 aircraft is currently scheduled for Friday, Feb. 14 and will be followed by the Combined Systems Test (CST). The Pegasus launch vehicle is currently planned for ferry to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the L-1011 aircraft on Feb. 18.

GALEX, built for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory by the Orbital Sciences Space Systems Group, arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, Feb. 2 and is undergoing prelaunch testing at the Multipurpose Payload Processing Facility (MPPF) located in the KSC Industrial Area. The spacecraft completed a solar array lighting test today and a deployment test of the arrays is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13.

The GALEX program management is by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and is part of Goddard's Small Explorer (SMEX) program. Spacecraft project management is the responsibility of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the California Institute of Technology is the lead for mission science.

Mission: Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer System
Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 17, Pad A
Launch Date: 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 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.

Once the spacecraft arrives on Feb. 27, it will be processed in the Vertical Processing Facility (VPF) control room located in the KSC Industrial Area. On March 17, ProSEDS will be transported to the launch pad and attached to the Delta II near the top of the second stage. This will be followed by electrical connections and a spacecraft functional test.

ProSEDS is flying as a secondary payload beneath a U.S. Air Force Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite.

Mission: Space Infrared Telescope Facility
Launch Vehicle: Delta II Heavy
Launch Pad: 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: April 15, 2003
Launch Time: 4:34:07 a.m. EDT

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) will obtain images and spectra by detecting the infrared energy, or heat, radiated by objects in space between wavelengths of 3 and 180 microns (1 micron is one-millionth of a meter). Most of this infrared radiation is blocked by the Earth's atmosphere and cannot be observed from the ground.

Consisting of an 0.85-meter telescope and three cryogenically cooled science instruments, SIRTF is one of NASA's largest infrared telescopes to be launched. Its highly sensitive instruments will give us a unique view of the Universe and allow us to peer into regions of space that are hidden from optical telescopes on the ground or orbiting telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Many areas of space are filled with vast, dense clouds of gas and dust that block our view. Infrared light can penetrate these clouds, allowing us to peer into regions of star formation, the centers of galaxies, and into newly forming planetary systems. Infrared also brings us information about the cooler objects in space, such as smaller stars that are too dim to be detected by their visible light, extra solar planets, and giant molecular clouds. Also, many molecules in space, including organic molecules, have their unique signatures in the infrared.

The SIRTF spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at Kennedy Space Center March 6. The review to determine the readiness to erect the launch vehicle is scheduled to occur Thursday, Feb. 13. The erection of the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on Pad 17-B is currently scheduled to begin on Feb. 24. Erection of the nine solid rocket boosters is scheduled for Feb. 25-27. The second stage is planned for hoisting atop the first stage on March 3.

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) on Monday, Jan. 27. The lander, aeroshell and cruise stage were then removed from the shipping container to begin processing. The identical MER-1 flight hardware will arrive at the PHSF on Feb. 17. The two Mars Exploration rovers arrive at KSC in late February and early March.

Status reports are available at:


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