Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

June 18, 2003
Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
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 26, 2003
Launch Time: 12:27:31 a.m. / 1:08:45 a.m. EDT

The MER-1 rover, Opportunity, mated to the upper stage booster and contained within its payload transporter, rolled out of the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility on Tuesday morning, June 17 at 1:58 a.m. It arrived at Pad 17-B at 4:30 a.m. and was hoisted atop the Boeing MER-B Delta II Heavy launch vehicle at 9:15 a.m.

The spacecraft electrical umbilical connections were established last night. A spacecraft state of health check is under way today. The integrated vehicle/spacecraft Flight Program Verification test will follow on Thursday. This will demonstrate the ability of the spacecraft and the launch vehicle to work together during the terminal countdown and flight. The Simulated Flight Test of the Delta II vehicle has been successfully completed.

Installation of the fairing around the spacecraft is scheduled to occur on Saturday, June 21. Fueling of the Delta second stage with its complement of storable hypergolic propellants is planned for Monday, June 23.

The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) will be held on Saturday, June 21 in the Mission Briefing Room at KSC. Pending successful completion of this review, launch is scheduled for June 26. There are no significant issues or concerns at this time.

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.

After arrival, the solar arrays will be mated to the vehicle, followed by spacecraft functional testing. SCISAT will be mated to the Pegasus on or about July 7. This will be followed by integrated testing. Installation of the fairing around the spacecraft is planned for July 22 and mating to the L-1011 carrier aircraft on July 30.

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. Mating of the second and third stages occurred earlier this week. The Mission Readiness Review for the vehicle is being held today at Orbital Sciences headquarters in Dulles, Virginia.

The scientific mission of SCISAT-1/ACE (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment) 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.

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

The launch period extends to September 9.

SIRTF is the fourth and final element in NASA's family of orbiting “Great Observatories.” All objects in the universe with temperatures above absolute zero (-460 F) emit some infrared radiation, or heat. Infrared wavelengths lie beyond the red portion of the visible spectrum and are invisible to the human eye. Most infrared light emitted by celestial objects is absorbed by Earth's atmosphere. Scientists rely on orbiting telescopes, such as SIRTF, to capture data on celestial objects and phenomena that are too dim, distant or cool to study using ground-based telescopes or by other astronomical techniques.

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