Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

March 26, 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: April 26, 2003 (Under Review)
Launch Window: 7:50 - 9:50 a.m. EST (Drop time 8:00 a.m.)

The GALEX test team is taking additional time to resolve an issue with a de-mated connector found during recent testing. The connector was observed to have a small 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 to assure that there is protection to spacecraft components that might be affected once the satellite is in orbit. This work will begin on Thursday, March 27. A borescope inspection of the spacecraft is under way today to look for the hardware.

The spacecraft was de-mated from the Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket on March 24. The following day it was rotated to vertical and placed on a test stand so that the planned work could begin.

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

Functional testing of SIRTF has been successfully completed. The solar arrays have been mated to the observatory and inspections of the observatory's primary mirror are finished. The SIRTF reaction control system (RCS) was pressurized for flight with gaseous nitrogen on March 22. This will be used to control the spacecraft on orbit. The payload attach fitting will be mated to the observatory on Saturday, March 29. All SIRTF payload processing is on schedule and there are no issues or concerns.

At Pad 17-B on the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle, a flight simulation to test the vehicle's systems that will operate during powered flight is under way today. A leak check of the first stage that will include a simulated countdown and the loading of liquid oxygen aboard has been rescheduled for April 2. SIRTF is currently scheduled for transportation to the launch pad and hoisting atop the Delta II on or about April 4.

Project management of SIRTF for NASA is by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The observatory is built by Lockheed Martin.

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

On March 21, MER-1 was driven on a test pad that included navigating the rover over obstacles simulating Martian terrain. The camera also underwent functional testing. A functional test and mission simulation is scheduled for this weekend that includes deployment of the lander petals, the solar arrays, camera mast and camera. A second functional test and mission simulation for MER-2 was successfully completed last weekend and the rover will be stowed on the lander base petal late this week.

Processing of the cruise stage, lander and heat shield elements for both missions continues. 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 22. The Boeing and NASA review to assess the engineering readiness of the Delta II for MER-A was completed on March 19 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 was completed on March 20.

Status reports are available at:


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