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Melissa Motichek/Don Savage
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1272/1727)
April 18, 2003
RELEASE : 03-145
NASA Delays SIRTF Launch
NASA managers have decided to postpone the launch of SIRTF (Space Infrared Telescope Facility) aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket until no earlier than mid-August 2003.

The delay will allow engineers enough time to change out one of the nine solid rocket motors attached to the Delta II rocket, which had multiple delaminations within the layers of material that comprise the engine-nozzle exit-cone liner.

"There simply is not enough time to remove and replace the rocket motor to support a SIRTF launch in advance of the Mars Exploration Rover-B launch window," said Karen Poniatowski, Assistant Associate Administrator for Launch Services at NASA Headquarters, Washington.

The upcoming launch dates of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER A and B), also on Delta II rockets, are June 6 and June 25, respectively. The MER-A mission, originally scheduled for May 30, was recently rescheduled to June 6 due to a potential problem with cabling on the spacecraft.

The launch of the Galaxy Evolution Explorer mission, or GALEX, is on schedule for launch on a Pegasus rocket on April 28.


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