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Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
(VAFB Phone: 805/605-3051)

Oct. 26, 2004
RELEASE : 04-356
DART Launch Postponed
NASA and Orbital Sciences Corp. have postponed today's launch of the Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft. The postponement is because the target satellite, Multiple Paths, Beyond-Line-of-Sight Communications, had a temporary loss of Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) reception that might impact navigation accuracy for on-orbit rendezvous.

While the GPS dropout has been corrected, the launch team wanted additional time to verify the data. The possibility of adverse weather also contributed to the decision to postpone the launch for at least 48 hours, pending the availability of range assets.

DART is a flight demonstrator that provides a key step in establishing autonomous rendezvous capabilities for the U.S. space program and the Vision for Space Exploration. While astronauts have piloted previous rendezvous and docking efforts, the unmanned DART spacecraft will have only computers and sensors to perform all its rendezvous functions.

Future applications of technologies developed by the DART project will benefit the nation in future space-systems development requiring in-space assembly, services or other autonomous rendezvous operations.

For more information about DART on the Internet, visit:


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