Status Report

Mars Exploration Rovers Launch Status Report 28 May 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
May 28, 2003
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MISSION: Mars Exploration Rover (MER-A)

  • LAUNCH TIMES: 2:05:55 p.m. / 2:44:07 p.m. EDT

The MER-2 rover, mated to the upper stage booster and contained within its payload transporter rolled out of the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility this morning at 2:20 a.m. It arrived at Pad 17-A at 4:30 a.m. It was hoisted atop the Boeing Delta II rocket at 9:15 a.m. A spacecraft state of health check is scheduled to occur on Wednesday and the integrated vehicle/spacecraft Flight Program Verification test will follow on Thursday. Installation of the fairing around the spacecraft is scheduled to occur this Saturday, May 31. Fueling of the Delta second stage with its complement of storable hypergolic propellants is currently planned to occur June 5.

Some additional schedule margin is being added to complete the management reviews required prior to launch. Therefore, launch is being retargeted to occur no earlier than June 8. A final decision on the launch date will be made next Monday, June 2.

MER-A will have two launch opportunities each day during the launch period that closes on June 19. Arrival at Mars is set for Jan 4, 2004, regardless of the launch date within that period.

The Delta first stage for MER-A was erected on Pad 17-A on April 23. The second stage erection was completed on April 28, and the fairing was installed in the white room on April 30. The solid rocket booster erection began on May 13 with the first set of three motors being attached to the first stage. The second set of three was erected on May 14, and the final set was hoisted into position on May 15. The Simulated Flight Test, an electrical test of the vehicle’s systems used during powered flight, was successfully completed on May 21.

MISSION: Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B vehicle/MER-1 rover)

  • LAUNCH VEHICLE: Delta II Heavy
  • LAUNCH PAD: 17-B
  • LAUNCH DATE: June 25, 2003
  • LAUNCH TIME: 12:38:16 a.m. / 1:19:19 a.m. EDT

Fueling of MER-1 began today and will be completed tomorrow May 28. Spin balance testing will begin the next day on May 29 and is to be followed by mating to the Delta third stage (upper stage booster) on June 14. Transportation to the launch pad is scheduled for June 15.

The MER-B vehicle’s first stage is on Pad 17-B. Erecting the nine solid rocket boosters in sets of three a day was completed May 22. The second stage will be hoisted atop the first stage tomorrow, May 28.

The MER-B launch period closes July 15.

SpaceRef staff editor.