Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 16 February 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
February 16, 2005
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MISSION: Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART)

LAUNCH VEHICLE: Pegasus XL (Orbital Sciences Corporation)



In the Orbital Sciences Corporation hangar at Vandenberg Air Force
Base in California, the upper stage has been re-integrated with the
DART spacecraft. The Reaction Control System arrived on Feb. 8 and
was reinstalled on the Pegasus. Preparations are under way for mating
the DART spacecraft with the launch vehicle.

A preliminary review has been completed on the loads imparted by the
Pegasus launch vehicle on the DART spacecraft. Additional testing has
been performed to ensure that the flight hardware on DART can
withstand the change in vehicle loads. The final assessment of the
loads analysis is scheduled to be completed later this month.

DART was designed and built for NASA by Orbital Sciences Corporation
as an advanced flight demonstrator to locate and maneuver near an
orbiting satellite. The DART spacecraft weighs about 800 pounds, and
is 6 feet long and 3 feet in diameter. The Orbital Sciences Pegasus
XL vehicle will launch DART into a circular polar orbit of 475 miles.
DART project management is the responsibility of NASA’s Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and the NASA launch
management is the responsibility of the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch
Services Program.

MISSION: NOAA-N (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration)

LAUNCH VEHICLE: Boeing Delta II 7320

LAUNCH PAD: SLC-2, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.



At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, testing has been completed
on the No. 3 S-band transmitter on NOAA-N and NASA has made a
decision to remove and replace it. This will involve about two months
of work. The replacement transmitter is scheduled to arrive next
week. The NOAA-N Project Management team is assessing the schedule
and a new launch date should be known next week.

At Space Launch Complex 2, preparations for launch of the Boeing Delta
II are going well. Some launch vehicle testing that requires
activation of “limited-life items,” such as flight batteries, will be
rescheduled and coordinated with the new schedule of NOAA-N
processing activities once the launch date has been determined.

After launch, NOAA-N will be renamed NOAA-18 and will provide
measurements of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere that will be
entered into NOAA’s weather forecasting models and used for other
environmental studies. Each day, the satellite will send data to
NOAA’s Command and Data Acquisition station computers, adding vital
information to forecasting models, especially over the oceans, where
conventional data is lacking.

The spacecraft will be turned over from NASA to NOAA after on-orbit
checkout is complete. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland
is responsible for NOAA-N project management. The spacecraft was
built for NASA by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. The Delta II
launch service is provided by the Boeing Expendable Launch Systems
Company. Launch management is the responsibility of the NASA Kennedy
Space Center Launch Services Program office.

MISSION: GOES-N (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite)


LAUNCH PAD: Complex 37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

LAUNCH DATE: May 4, 2005


On Feb. 15 at Complex 37, the Boeing Delta IV rocket for the launch of
GOES-N was transported from its hangar outside the pad perimeter to
the launch pad. Today it was hoisted from the horizontal to vertical
position and installed inside the gantry. Next week, a pair of solid
rocket boosters is scheduled to be attached.

The GOES-N weather satellite is currently scheduled for shipment to
Florida during the second week of March to begin final testing and
launch preparations.

GOES-N is the first of a series of three next-generation geostationary
weather satellites for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA). It will aid activities ranging from severe
storm warnings, to advance day-to-day weather forecasting, to early
warnings of solar storms that affect Earth.

The fueled spacecraft, which will weigh 6,908 pounds at launch, is
powered by one wing of solar cells and is designed to last 10 years
in geostationary orbit.

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is responsible
for procuring and developing the satellite, and testing the
spacecraft and instruments. NOAA is responsible for the overall GOES
program, its funding and the in-orbit operation of the series of

GOES-N is built by the Boeing Company and will also be launched by
Boeing aboard a commercial Delta IV rocket.

SpaceRef staff editor.