Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

July 3, 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: July 6, 2003
Launch Time: 10:43:16 p.m. / 11:26:02 p.m. EDT

The launch of the MER-B Mars Exploration Rover has been rescheduled to occur on Sunday, July 6. A loading of the first stage of the Delta launch vehicle with liquid oxygen is currently scheduled for Saturday morning. This is being done to assure launch vehicle engineers that proper bonding of the cork insulation with the surface of the first stage has been achieved. Meanwhile, other related test and evaluation continues. A launch readiness review is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

On launch day, Sunday, the gantry-like mobile service tower will be retracted from around the vehicle at 3:30 p.m. Loading of the RP-1 fuel, a highly refined kerosene, will begin at 8:03 p.m. Loading of liquid oxygen will follow at 8:53 p.m.

Mission: Scientific Satellite-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

Arrival of the SCISAT spacecraft at Vandenberg Air Force Base from the Canadian Space Agency's David Florida Laboratories occurred as scheduled on June 25. Instrument checkout and spacecraft functional testing is under way. The solar arrays will be attached to the vehicle on or about July 10.

Meanwhile, the Pegasus XL rocket is undergoing prelaunch preparations by Orbital Sciences Corporation at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Mating of the first stage to the second stage was completed June 24. Mating of the second stage to the third stage was completed the following day on June 25. The second Flight Simulation was completed as planned on Wednesday, July 2.

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.

The scientific mission of SCISAT-1 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 policymakers assess existing environmental policy and develop protective measures for improving the health of our atmosphere, preventing further ozone 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: 12:37:30 a.m. EDT

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 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.

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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