Status Report

MER Status Report Week Ending June 7, 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
June 7, 2003
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Well, we scrubbed today. That happens a lot in the rocket business.
A scrub is when you have to cancel a launch late in the countdown
and try again another day. Scrubs happen for all kinds of reasons.
Usually it’s weather, and that’s what got us today.

Early this morning it was beautiful on the Florida coast. I watched
dawn come up over Pad 17A, and as the sun’s first rays hit the
rocket it was a lovely thing to see.

It would have been nice if we could have gone right then, but you
can’t just launch a rocket whenever you want to. Because the Earth
is always spinning, you need to wait until it’s at just the right
point in its spin to launch it. Otherwise, you’d be headed off in
the wrong direction. For us, the right time of day today to go to
Mars was 2:05:55 PM Eastern Daylight Time. But when the weather guys
looked at their radars a couple of hours before liftoff, they could
see some very bad stuff headed our way, and a scrub was called. And
sure enough, when launch time came around there were some very nasty
clouds hanging over the pad.

You might think it’d be frustrating when something like this
happens, but it really isn’t. We’ve waited so long to fly these
things that another day doesn’t seem like much. And with $400
million worth of hardware out on the pad, the thing we really don’t
want anybody to do is take chances. So we’ll try again tomorrow.

SpaceRef staff editor.