Status Report

NASA Spacecraft and Expendable Launch Vehicles Status Report 24 November 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
November 25, 2004
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Mission – Swift

Launch Vehicle – Delta II 7320

Launch Pad – 17-A Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

Launch Date – November 20, 2004

Launch Time – 12:16 p.m. EST

NASA successfully launched the Swift spacecraft on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 12:16:00.611 p.m. EST.  About 80 minutes after launch, the spacecraft was successfully separated from the Delta II second stage and the solar arrays were properly deployed.  

Currently in space, the observatory systems are being activated and on-orbit checkout is beginning.

The satellite will pinpoint the location of distant yet fleeting gamma-ray bursts, explosions that appear to signal the births of black holes.

Swift is a medium-class Explorer mission managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The observatory was built for NASA by Spectrum Astro, a division of General Dynamics. The Kennedy Space Center in Florida was responsible for Swift’s integration with the Boeing Delta II rocket and the countdown management on launch day.

Deep Impact

Mission – Deep Impact

Launch Vehicle – Delta II 7925

Launch Site – SLC 17-B Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Launch Date – No earlier than January 8, 2005

Launch Time – 2:39:50 p.m. (EST) instantaneous

Adecision has been made to reschedule the launch of the Deep Impact spacecraft to no earlier than Jan. 8 to allow more time for evaluation of mission software. While there are no significant problems associated with the spacecraft hardware, additional time is necessary to be ready for launch. Spacecraft functional and mission readiness tests continue.

The stacking of the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on Pad 17-B began on Nov. 22 with the hoisting of the first stage into the launcher. Hoisting of the nine strap-on solid rocket boosters, in sets of three, began on Nov. 23 and will continue on Nov. 29 and Dec. 1. The second stage will be hoisted into position atop the first stage on Dec. 3.

The overall Deep Impact mission management for this Discovery class program is conducted by the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. Deep Impact project management is handled by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The spacecraft was built for NASA by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation.


Mission – Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART )

Launch Vehicle – Pegasus XL

Launch Site – Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Launch Date – No earlier than March 2, 2005

The review of projected loads data, or the G-forces that the DART payload will experience upon ignition of the Pegasus second stage, continue to be reevaluated to assure mission success. However, the final launch date will depend on availability of the Western Range, the P-3 tracking aircraft, and the McMurdo Tracking Station in Antarctica.

The Pegasus rocket with DART has been returned to its hangar for the present time. A new launch date will be determined once the loads analysis concern has been resolved, the Western Range availability is determined, and support of the four worldwide tracking stations necessary for the mission are confirmed. The launch is currently targeted for no earlier than Mar. 2 based on work in progress and DART mission windows.

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 approximately 475 miles.

SpaceRef staff editor.