Press Release

Launch of “Opportunity” Aboard Delta II Postponed to July 7

By SpaceRef Editor
July 5, 2003
Filed under , , ,
Launch of “Opportunity” Aboard Delta II Postponed to July 7
Opportunity Awaiting Launch at the Pad

The launch of the MER-B Mars Exploration Rover “Opportunity” aboard a Boeing
Delta II rocket has been postponed an additional 24 hours. The delay is due
to the failure of a battery cell associated with a component of the launch
vehicle’s flight termination system. The battery must be removed and
replaced.

Launch is now targeted for no earlier than Monday, July 7. The two launch
times available are 10:35:23 and 11:18:15 p.m. EDT. The forecast calls for
a 30% chance of not meeting the launch weather criteria on Monday evening.

At Pad 17-B, a tanking test of the Delta rocket was conducted this morning.
The first stage was loaded with cryogenic liquid oxygen to evaluate the
bonding of the lower band of cork thermal insulation. This afternoon, NASA
and Boeing managers met to discuss the outcome of the tanking test and other
associated testing and engineering evaluations that have been conducted over
the last several days.

After the tanking, inspections revealed some selective debonding of the cork
from the surface of the vehicle within a limited area. These locations are
being repaired using a different adhesive with a stronger bonding
characteristic as demonstrated by tests conducted at KSC late this week.
This work was completed tonight and the problem has been resolved to the
satisfaction of engineers.

SpaceRef staff editor.