Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

June 13, 2003
Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
Mission: Mars Exploration Rover (MER-A vehicle/MER-2 rover)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Pad: Pad 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: June 10, 2003

The MER-A Delta II launch vehicle carrying the "Spirit" Mars Exploration Rover was launched successfully from Pad 17-A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Tuesday, June 10. The official liftoff time was 1:58:46.773 p.m. EDT. Communication with the spacecraft through the Deep Space Network indicates that the spacecraft is in good health and on the proper trajectory. There are no issues or concerns with the mission at this time.

Mission: Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B vehicle/Opportunity)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II Heavy
Launch Pad: Pad 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: June 25, 2003
Launch Time: 12:38:16 a.m. / 1:19:19 a.m. EDT

Mating of the spacecraft to the upper stage booster, the Delta's third stage, was completed on Thursday in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF). Today the spacecraft is being placed into its transportation canister in preparation for going to the launch pad. That is scheduled to occur before dawn on Tuesday, June 17.

Meanwhile, at Pad 17-B, preparations are under way for the Simulated Flight test of the Delta II launch vehicle to occur sometime within the next few days. This is a test that activates the Delta's mechanical and electrical systems during a simulated flight of the vehicle to verify how they will perform during ascent. A decision on the final launch date is expected on Monday after the test has been completed.

The MER-B vehicle's first stage is on Pad 17-B. Erection of the nine solid rocket boosters was completed May 22. The second stage was hoisted atop the first stage on May 29. Encapsulation of the spacecraft into the payload fairing atop the Delta II is currently planned for June 21.

Mission: SCISAT-1/Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment
Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL
Launch Location: Vandenberg Air Force Base
Launch Date: August 2, 2003
Launch Time: 9:03:05 p.m. / 10:00:14 p.m. PDT

The SCISAT spacecraft is completing final testing at the Canadian Space Agency's David Florida Laboratories. Arrival of the spacecraft at Vandenberg Air Force Base is currently scheduled for June 25.

The first Flight Simulation is scheduled for June 10-11 and will be followed by mating the stages together June 11-17. The second Flight Simulation is planned for June 25-26.

SCISAT-1 weighs approximately 330 pounds and will be placed in a 400-mile-high polar orbit to investigate processes that control the distribution of ozone in the upper atmosphere.

Meanwhile, the Pegasus XL rocket is undergoing prelaunch preparations at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

The scientific mission of SCISAT-1/ACE (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment) mission is to measure and understand the chemical processes that control the distribution of ozone in the Earth's atmosphere, particularly at high altitudes. The data from the satellite will provide Canadian and international scientists with improved measurements relating to global ozone processes and help policy-makers assess existing environmental policy and develop protective measures for improving the health of our atmosphere, preventing further zone depletion. The mission is designed to last two years.

Mission: Space Infrared Telescope Facility
Launch Vehicle: Delta II Heavy
Launch Pad: 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: August 23, 2003
Launch Time: TBD

The SIRTF observatory is in NASA's class 10,000 laminar flow clean room at spacecraft Hangar AE awaiting its return to the launch pad in early August.

The launch date has been moved forward four days to August 23.

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

Status reports are available at:


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