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George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(321) 867-2468
MISSION: Deep Impact
LAUNCH PAD: Pad 17-B Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
LAUNCH DATE: Jan. 8, 2005
LAUNCH WINDOW: 1:39:50 and 2:19:12 p.m. EST instantaneous

In processing activities at the Astrotech Space Operations facility located near Kennedy Space Center, the high-gain antenna used for Deep Impact communications with Earth is being installed today. The solar array panels successfully completed an illumination test on Wednesday as a final check of their performance. On Friday, Dec. 10, the flight battery will be installed. The solar arrays stowed for flight on Dec. 13. Deep Impact will then be ready to begin preparations for fueling, which is scheduled to start on Dec. 16 and be completed on Dec. 19. Mating to the payload attach fitting and upper stage booster occurs Dec. 22 - 23.

The spacecraft is currently scheduled to be transported to Pad 17-B on Dec. 28 and mated to the Boeing Delta II rocket. The Flight Program Verification, the major integrated test with the Delta II, occurs on Dec. 30. The Delta II payload fairing will be installed around the Deep Impact spacecraft on Jan. 4.

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft arrived in Florida on Oct. 23 to begin final preparations for launch. The spacecraft was shipped from Ball Aerospace & Technologies in Boulder, Colo., to Astrotech in Titusville.

Meanwhile, the stacking of the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on Pad 17-B began on Nov. 22 with the hoisting of the first stage into the launcher. Hoisting of the nine strap-on solid rocket boosters, in sets of three, began with the first set on Nov. 23 and the second on Nov 29. The last set was installed on the vehicle on Dec. 1. The second stage was hoisted into position atop the first stage on Dec. 3. The payload fairing was hoisted and stowed in the mobile service tower on Dec. 6. The first power-on test occurred Dec. 7.

The next event is the vehicle guidance and control system check, which occurs on Dec. 13. The loading of liquid oxygen aboard the first stage for a leak check and a countdown launch team certification exercise is scheduled to occur on Dec. 14. The Flight Simulation, a plus count that exercises all of the systems on the vehicle as they will occur during powered flight, is scheduled for Dec. 15.

The overall Deep Impact mission management for this Discovery class program is conducted by the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. Deep Impact project management is handled by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The spacecraft was built for NASA by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation.

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