George Diller/Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Dec. 18, 2002
Pegasus Arrives At KSC For Launch Of SORCE Payload In January
The Pegasus XL Expendable Launch Vehicle, built by the Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, Va., arrived at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Fla., Skid Strip on Dec. 17. The vehicle was ferried non-stop from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), Calif., using the Orbital Sciences L-1011 aircraft.
The Pegasus vehicle will be transported to the Multi-Payload Processing Facility (MPPF) in the Industrial Area at Kennedy Space Center later today. The vehicle will be towed into the highbay to undergo testing, verification and three flight simulations prior to its scheduled launch in late January 2003.
The Pegasus XL vehicle will carry NASA's Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) into orbit. The SORCE satellite includes four instruments to study and measure solar irradiance as a source of energy in the Earth's atmosphere.
SORCE was built by Orbital Sciences Space Systems Group. The SORCE project is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The instruments were built by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) for the University of Colorado.
Tammy Harrington, mission integration manager for the SORCE mission said, "The arrival of the Pegasus XL launch vehicle marks a significant milestone in the launch preparations for the SORCE mission. This mission will demonstrate the unique capability where the Pegasus vehicle and the SORCE spacecraft are co-processed and integrated entirely at KSC." SORCE will be the third Pegasus launched from CCAFS, but the first Pegasus "campaign mission" operation at NASA KSC.
The SORCE spacecraft has undergone spacecraft testing and processing activities since its arrival in October 2002. SORCE will be mated to the Pegasus rocket inside the MPPF and additional testing will be performed concurrent with the Pegasus XL launch vehicle. This event will mark the first time that both a launch vehicle and a payload have been processed, tested and integrated in parallel inside the same facility at KSC prior to being transported to the launch site. It will also be the first time that the Pegasus vehicle receives final launch processing at KSC rather than VAFB.
The spacecraft-to-launch vehicle mate is currently planned for Jan. 5, 2003. Fairing installation will occur on Jan. 20, leading to transport back to the CCAFS Skid Strip for final launch preparations on Jan. 22.
The MPPF at KSC will also be used for NASA's GALEX (Galaxy Evolution Explorer) mission in the first quarter of 2003. GALEX was developed and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Launch of the Pegasus vehicle, carrying SORCE into a low-Earth orbit, is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2003. NASA's Kennedy Space Center is responsible for government oversight of launch vehicle engineering, spacecraft integration and launch countdown management.
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