Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

March 5, 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 (Under review)
Launch Window: 6:50 - 8:50 a.m. EST (Drop time 7:00 a.m.)

Based on results of tests performed on the GALEX spacecraft on March 4, it has been determined that additional inspection of electrical connectors on the spacecraft is required that will require additional time for processing in the Multi-purpose Payload Processing Facility (MPPF). A documentation review of the thrust vector control system on the Pegasus third stage will also be undertaken during this time. The launch is being rescheduled to no earlier than April 2, 2003, pending availability of the Eastern Range.

Once the GALEX spacecraft is mated to the Pegasus late next week and the mechanical and electrical connections have been established, an Interface Verification Test will be performed.

The Orbital Sciences L-1011 carrier aircraft with the Pegasus launch vehicle arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. on Feb. 18. In the MPPF, Flight Simulation No. 3 was successfully completed on March 3. The payload attach fitting is being installed today.

GALEX will be transported to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on March 21 for mating to the Orbital Sciences L-1011 carrier aircraft.

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: Pad 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: Indefinite

Update: A decision has been made to remove ProSEDS from the current launch opportunity slated for March 29, 2003. An evaluation as to whether ProSEDS can be flown on a future opportunity is being explored. This will help assure full mission success of ProSEDS and the primary payload.

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 SIRTF spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at Kennedy Space Center on Thursday, March 6. It is being shipped from the Lockheed Martin plant at Sunnyvale, Calif. It will be processed at NASA Spacecraft Hangar AE on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The erection of the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on Pad 17-B began on Monday, Feb. 24 with the erection of the first stage. Erection of the nine solid rocket boosters is underway this week. The second stage is planned for hoisting atop the first stage on March 12.

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) will obtain images and spectra by detecting the infrared energy, or heat, radiated by objects in space. Most of this infrared radiation is blocked by the Earth's atmosphere and cannot be observed from the ground.

Consisting of a 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.

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

At Kennedy Space Center, the first of two Mars Exploration Rovers, MER-2 has begun its prelaunch testing in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF). Processing of the MER-1 cruise stage, lander, aersoshell and heat shield is also underway. A functional test of the MER-2 rover systems will be conducted on March 6 and March 9. The MER-1 rover is scheduled to arrive at KSC on March 11.

Once functional testing and mission simulation of the flight elements is complete, they will be integrated together. Each spacecraft will be mated to a solid propellant upper stage booster that will propel the spacecraft out of Earth orbit. After mating to the upper stage, the stack will undergo spin balance testing. Approximately ten days before launch the payload will be transported to the launch pad for mating with their respective Boeing Delta II rockets.

The Boeing Delta II vehicle for the first launch of the two launches scheduled on May 30 is planned for erection on Pad 17-A at Space Launch Complex 17 beginning April 18. The Delta for the second launch on June 25 will begin erection activities on May 1 on Pad 17-B.

Status reports are available at:


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