Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 26 January 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
January 26, 2005
Filed under , ,

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, Calif., a leak was observed last week during testing of the
gaseous nitrogen regulator associated with the Pegasus launch
vehicle’s Reaction Control System (RCS). The regulator is used to
maintain proper pressure in the RCS during flight. The regulator must
be removed and replaced. It is located within the forward portion of
the Pegasus third stage.

On Tuesday, DART was removed from the Pegasus to obtain access to the
regulator. The spacecraft has been rotated to a vertical position,
moved to a clean room and placed on a test stand.

A new launch date has not been determined. A revised schedule is being
developed and should be finished next week with an assessed date for
launch management coordination.

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, 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.

LAUNCH DATE: March 19, 2005

LAUNCH WINDOW: 2:22:01 – 2:32:01 a.m. PST

In California, processing of the NOAA-N weather satellite continues on
schedule in NASA spacecraft processing hangar 1610 located on North
Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Spacecraft Electrical Performance Test
is currently under way. Battery conditioning was completed as
scheduled last week. The Solar Array Illumination Telemetry Test is
scheduled for Feb. 4. The final instrument inspections and associated
instrument close-outs for flight will be performed Feb. 15-16. The
spacecraft is currently scheduled to be taken to the launch pad to be
mated with the Delta II rocket on Feb. 25.

At Space Launch Complex 2, the first power-on testing of the Boeing
Delta II launch vehicle is scheduled to begin on Jan. 31. The Vehicle
Guidance and Control Qualifications, which are tests of the Delta II
guidance and control systems, are scheduled for Feb. 7. The First
Stage Liquid Oxygen “LOX” Leak Checks, a countdown test that involves
loading liquid oxygen aboard the first stage and also serves as a
countdown certification for the launch team, will be held on Feb. 11.

The build-up of the Boeing Delta II at the pad began on Jan. 12 with
the erection of the first stage and interstage adapter. The three
strap-on solid rocket boosters were attached to the vehicle on Jan.
17. The second stage was hoisted atop the first stage on Jan. 20.

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.

SpaceRef staff editor.