Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

March 19, 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: Under Review
Launch Window: To be determined

The GALEX test team needs additional time to resolve an issue with a de-mated connector found during recent testing. The connector was observed to have a small missing fastener and associated clip that cannot be found. Since it cannot be proven that this hardware is not somewhere within the spacecraft bus, foreign object debris shields will be installed where necessary to assure that there is protection to spacecraft components that might be affected once the satellite is in orbit.

The spacecraft will be de-mated from the Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket on Monday. The following day the spacecraft will be rotated to vertical and placed on a test stand so that the planned work can begin.

A new launch date has not yet been established but a launch in April is still possible.

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: April 18, 2003
Launch Time: 4:32:49 a.m. EDT

The erection of the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on Pad 17-B was completed on March 14 with the erection of the Delta second stage. Erection of the nine solid rocket boosters was also completed last week. 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.

Functional testing of SIRTF has gone well and remains on schedule. The solar arrays were mated to the observatory this week. Inspections of the observatory's primary mirror are underway today.

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

Final build-up of the two rovers is going well. A second functional test and mission simulation for MER-2 is scheduled to occur beginning tomorrow and last through the weekend. The initial functional test and mission simulation for MER-1 is planned for the last week of March. Processing of the cruise stage, lander and heat shield elements continues. The flight battery installation is complete.

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 Boeing and NASA review to assess readiness of the vehicle and the launch pad for the MER-A mission is underway today at the Boeing plant in Huntington Beach, Calif.

The Delta for the second launch on June 25 will begin its erection at Pad 17-B on May 1. Boeing's Delta II Heavy Design Certification Review for MER-B is scheduled for tomorrow, March 20.

Status reports are available at:


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