Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

April 3, 2003
Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
Mission: Space Infrared Telescope Facility
Launch Vehicle: Delta II Heavy
Launch Pad: 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 and the spacecraft was mated to the Delta payload attach fitting on Mar. 31. Work is now under way to install the observatory into a transportation canister in preparation for moving to Space Launch Complex 17. SIRTF will be mated to the Boeing Delta II rocket on Saturday, April 5. There will then be an interface verification test to assure that electrical and mechanical connections have been properly established. This will be followed by a spacecraft state of health check.

At Pad 17-B on the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle, a liquid oxygen leak check of the first stage that will include a simulated countdown and the loading of liquid oxygen aboard was performed yesterday, April 2. A flight simulation to test the vehicle's systems that will operate during powered flight is under way today. An RP-1 leak check of the first stage that involves loading of the highly refined kerosene fuel is scheduled for Friday, April 4.

The Flight Program Verification, an integrated test of the vehicle and the spacecraft that is the final major test before launch, is scheduled to occur April 7. The payload fairing will be installed around SIRTF atop the Delta II on April 9 and will be followed by servicing the observatory with cryogenic helium.

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

Mission: Galaxy Evolution Explorer
Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL
Launch Pad: Skid Strip, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: No earlier than April 26, 2003
Launch Window: 7:50 - 9:50 a.m. EST (Drop time 8:00 a.m.)

The GALEX test team has conducted a borescope inspection of the spacecraft and did not find any loose hardware within it. Foreign object debris shields were installed which will assure protection of the spacecraft components once the satellite is in orbit.

GALEX will be re-mated to the Pegasus on Monday, April 14. A flight simulation will follow. The fairing will be installed around GALEX on April 14. The GALEX/Pegasus will be transported to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and mated to the L-1011 carrier aircraft on April 22. An integrated test, a Combined Systems Test (CST) will follow.

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: 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

Yesterday on MER-1, the science boom was deployed, tested and retracted. On Monday, March 31 a functional test and mission simulation was performed that included deployment of the solar arrays, camera mast and camera. A functional test of the camera was also performed. This test will be repeated on Friday, April 4.

On MER-2, the solar arrays have been stowed for flight and the rover was installed on the base petal on March 28. Closeouts are now underway. Installation of the landing airbags will also occur on Friday, April 4.

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 fully integrated payload will be transported to the launch pad for mating with their respective Boeing Delta II rockets.

On Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, first and second stage processing activities continue in launch vehicle hangars. A combined electrical system test is scheduled for Friday, April 4. 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 Delta for the second launch on June 25 will begin its erection at Pad 17-B on May 1.

Status reports are available at:


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