Status Report

HETE-2 Spacecraft Scheduled for Launch on Saturday Oct. 7

By SpaceRef Editor
October 2, 2000
Filed under

The High-Energy Transient Explorer-2 (HETE-2) funded by NASA
and built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is scheduled for
launch at 1:45 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Oct. 7. Carrying the spacecraft into
orbit will be a Pegasus rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corporation. It
will be deployed from the Orbital Sciences L-1011 aircraft at the Kwajalein
Missile Range in the south Pacific.

HETE-2 is an international collaborative mission involving
the United States, France and Japan, each of which built one of the
spacecraft’s three instruments.

The mission objective is to detect gamma ray bursts that
appear without warning from all corners of the universe. Scientists do not
know the cause of these great releases of energy that may last only a few
milliseconds or up to a minute. Gamma ray bursts occur once or twice a day
but seldom do they afford scientists a good look before they fade away.
HETE-2 will also be able to observe star systems that suddenly flare up with
little or no warning.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in
Cambridge, Mass., developed the HETE-2 satellite. MIT is responsible for
mission and science operations. NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and
the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., manage the mission.
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center, Fla., is responsible for management of
the launch.

The countdown will be managed not at Kwajalein, but from
the NASA Mission Director’s Center (MDC) at Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station. Communications and telemetry data from the L-1011 and the Pegasus
rocket will be relayed back to the MDC by satellite, making this the first
remotely conducted countdown by KSC launch management.


Live coverage of the launch of HETE-2 aboard the Pegasus
Rocket from the Kwajalein Missile Range will be provided by a webcast. No
live NASA Television coverage is planned. The webcast location will be
highlighted on the NASA-KSC Home Page found at: and

The webcast coverage will begin at 12:30 a.m. EDT on
Saturday, Oct. 7. It will conclude after spacecraft separation from the
Pegasus rocket approximately 12 minutes after launch.

A complete HETE-2 video package will be broadcast during the
NASA TV Video File on Friday Oct. 6, at noon EDT. No news conferences are

SpaceRef staff editor.