Status Report

NASA MESSENGER Launch Status Report 28 Jul 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
July 28, 2004
Filed under , , ,



LAUNCH PAD: 17-B,  Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

LAUNCH DATE:  Aug. 2, 2004

LAUNCH WINDOW:  2:16:11 a.m. – 2:16:23 a.m. EDT

On Tuesday, July 27 at Pad 17-B, the two halves of the Delta payload fairing were placed around the MESSENGER spacecraft.  The securing of the fairing is being completed today.  The Flight Readiness Review is scheduled for Thursday, July 29.          

The spacecraft was transported July 21 from the Astrotech payload processing facility to Pad 17-B on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and hoisted atop the Delta II.  A spacecraft state-of-health check was then successfully performed, followed by the start of close-out activities for launch.  The Flight Program Verification, an integrated test of the launch vehicle and the spacecraft, was successfully completed July 24.

On Friday, July 30, the loading of the second stage with its complement of hypergolic propellants is scheduled.  On Saturday, July 31, Flight Slews which are checks of the launch vehicle steering system, will be performed.  The final Range Safety beacon checks are also scheduled.

For launch, retraction of the mobile service tower that is the gantry surrounding the Delta II is scheduled to begin at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1.  Loading aboard the Delta first stage of RP-1, a highly refined kerosene fuel is scheduled to begin at 11:36 p.m.  The cryogenic liquid oxygen will be loaded aboard the first stage approximately one hour later.

The launch weather forecast calls for a 30% chance of not meeting the launch weather criteria on Monday morning.  At the 2:16 a.m. launch time the temperature will be near 79 degrees, the relative humidity near 90%, southeast winds at 8-12 knots, the visibility 10 miles or greater.  There is a chance of thunderstorms in the vicinity, primarily offshore.

MESSENGER was built for NASA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.  The launch period extend through Aug. 14.

SpaceRef staff editor.