Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

March 13, 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.)

In the Multipurpose Payload Processing Facility (MPPF), mating of the GALEX spacecraft to Pegasus launch vehicle is underway today. Once the electrical connections have been established, a Flight Simulation test will be performed.

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

A request for a launch date of Apr. 2 has been made to the Eastern Range. That date is not available at this time. As an alternative, schedule options are being developed for a launch date as early as Mar. 30.

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: Space Infrared Telescope Facility
Launch Vehicle: Delta II Heavy
Launch Pad: 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: No earlier than April 15, 2003
Launch Time: 4:34:07 a.m. EDT

The SIRTF spacecraft arrived at Kennedy Space Center on Thursday, Mar. 6. It was shipped from the Lockheed Martin plant at Sunnyvale, Calif. Testing and final preparations for launch are being performed in a class 10,000 laminar flow clean room at NASA Spacecraft Hangar AE on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Once inside the high bay, the spacecraft was rotated to vertical and the protective coverings removed. Spacecraft systems functional testing is underway this week.

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 was completed this week. The second stage is planned for hoisting atop the first stage on Friday, March 12. A leak check of the first stage that includes loading liquid oxygen aboard is scheduled for March 22. A flight simulation to test the vehicle's systems that will operate during power flight is scheduled for March 26.

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 second of the two Mars Exploration Rovers, MER-1, arrived on Tuesday, March 11 and has begun its prelaunch testing in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF). A functional test of the MER-2 rover systems was conducted on Mar. 6 and Mar. 9 and included deployment of the lander petals, the rover's solar arrays, camera mast and camera. The camera also took test images. A similar test for MER-1 is scheduled to occur late next week.

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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