Status Report

NASA Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B/Opportunity) Launch Status Report 25 Jun 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
June 25, 2003
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MISSION: Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B/Opportunity)

  • LAUNCH VEHICLE: Delta II Heavy
  • LAUNCH PAD:  17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • LAUNCH DATE:  June 28, 2003
  • LAUNCH TIME:  11: 56: 16 p.m. / 12: 37: 59 a.m. EDT

The Flight Readiness Review was held on June 21, and afterward, a decision was made to postpone the launch by at least a couple of days. Based on routine post-test inspections, the launch team elected to remove and replace a band of protective cork insulation on the Delta first stage that may not have been adhering properly. The location is below the forward attach points of the strap-on solid rocket boosters. Inspections of a second band located higher on the first stage showed that only minor work is necessary to assure that it is ready for launch.

All of the reapplication and repair of the cork insulation will be completed today. Normal countdown activities will then resume on Thursday, beginning with the fueling of the Delta second stage with its complement of storable hypergolic propellants. A countdown dress rehearsal will also be held on Thursday. The Launch Readiness Review will be held on Friday in the Mission Briefing Room at KSC.

The fairing was installed around the MER-B “Opportunity” spacecraft on June 21. Fairing closeouts will begin tonight. Integrated spacecraft/launch vehicle testing indicates that the flight systems are ready for launch.

At Pad 17-B on launch day, the mobile service tower will be retracted from around the Delta II about 3: 30 p.m. if weather permits. Options are available to retract the mobile service tower later if there are thunderstorms in the vicinity and still reach one or both of the two available launch times.   

Loading of the RP-1 fuel aboard the Delta first stage is nominally planned to begin at 9: 16 p.m. followed by loading of liquid oxygen at about 10: 06 p.m.                  

SpaceRef staff editor.