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George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(321) 867-2468

Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
MISSION: Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART)
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Pegasus XL (Orbital Sciences Corporation)

In the Orbital Sciences Corporation hangar at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the upper stage has been re-integrated with the DART spacecraft. The Reaction Control System arrived on Feb. 8. Preparations are under way for mating the DART spacecraft with the launch vehicle.

A preliminary review has been completed on the loads imparted by the Pegasus launch vehicle on the DART spacecraft. Additional testing has been performed to ensure that the flight hardware on DART can withstand the change in vehicle loads. The final assessment of the loads analysis is scheduled to be completed later this month.

DART was designed and built for NASA by Orbital Sciences Corporation as an advanced flight demonstrator to locate and maneuver near an orbiting satellite. The DART spacecraft weighs about 800 pounds, and is 6 feet long and 3 feet in diameter. The Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL vehicle will launch DART into a circular polar orbit of 475 miles. DART project management is the responsibility of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and the NASA launch management is the responsibility of the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Services Program.


MISSION: NOAA-N (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration)
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Boeing Delta II 7320
LAUNCH PAD: SLC-2, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, testing has been completed on the No. 3 S-band transmitter on NOAA-N and NASA has made a decision to remove and replace it. This will involve about two months of work. The replacement transmitter is scheduled to arrive next week. The NOAA-N Project Management team is assessing the schedule and a new launch date should be known next week.

At Space Launch Complex 2, preparations for launch of the Boeing Delta II are going well. Some launch vehicle testing that requires activation of "limited-life items," such as flight batteries, will be rescheduled and coordinated with the new schedule of NOAA-N processing activities once the launch date has been determined.

After launch, NOAA-N will be renamed NOAA-18 and will provide measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere that will be entered into NOAA's weather forecasting models and used for other environmental studies. Each day, the satellite will send data to NOAA's Command and Data Acquisition station computers, adding vital information to forecasting models, especially over the oceans, where conventional data is lacking.

The spacecraft will be turned over from NASA to NOAA after on-orbit checkout is complete. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland is responsible for NOAA-N project management. The spacecraft was built for NASA by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. The Delta II launch service is provided by the Boeing Expendable Launch Systems Company. Launch management is the responsibility of the NASA Kennedy Space Center Launch Services Program office.


MISSION: GOES-N (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite)
LAUNCH PAD: Complex 37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
LAUNCH DATE: May 4, 2005

On Feb. 15 at Complex 37, the Boeing Delta IV rocket for the launch of GOES-N was transported from its hangar outside the pad perimeter to the launch pad. Today it was hoisted from the horizontal to vertical position and installed inside the gantry. Next week, a pair of solid rocket boosters is scheduled to be attached.

The GOES-N weather satellite is currently scheduled for shipment to Florida during the second week of March to begin final testing and launch preparations.

GOES-N is the first of a series of three next-generation geostationary weather satellites for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It will aid activities ranging from severe storm warnings, to advance day-to-day weather forecasting, to early warnings of solar storms that affect Earth.

The fueled spacecraft, which will weigh 6,908 pounds at launch, is powered by one wing of solar cells and is designed to last 10 years in geostationary orbit.

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is responsible for procuring and developing the satellite, and testing the spacecraft and instruments. NOAA is responsible for the overall GOES program, its funding and the in-orbit operation of the series of satellites.

GOES-N is built by the Boeing Company and will also be launched by Boeing aboard a commercial Delta IV rocket.

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