Status Report

NASA Spacecraft and Expendable Vehicle Status Report 7 May 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
May 9, 2004
Filed under , ,



LAUNCH PAD: SLC-2, Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB)

LAUNCH DATE:  June 19, 2004

LAUNCH WINDOW: 3:01:50 a.m. – 3:04:50 (PDT)

NASA’s Aura spacecraft, the latest in the Earth Observing System (EOS) series, is at the Astrotech payload processing facility on North Vandenberg Air Force Base. The spacecraft propulsion system testing was completed.  Final preparation for fueling is scheduled to be completed on May 12. The spacecraft will be fueled on May 13, followed by preparation for spacecraft mate to payload attached fitting currently scheduled for May 24.

The assembly of the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on Space Launch Complex 2, located on North Vandenberg Air Force Base, began on April 29 with the stacking of the first stage. The payload fairing was hoisted into the tower on April 30. The second stage was hoisted atop the first stage on May 1. Installation of the nine solid rocket boosters was completed Wednesday.

Aura’s four state-of-the-art instruments will study the dynamics of chemistry occurring in the atmosphere. The spacecraft will provide data to help scientists better understand the Earth’s ozone, air quality and climate change.

The EOS Aura satellite, instruments and science investigations are managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Government oversight of launch preparations and the countdown management on launch day is the responsibility of the NASA Launch Services Program based at John F. Kennedy Space Center. The launch service is provided to NASA by Boeing Launch Services.



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

LAUNCH DATE:  July 30, 2004 NET

LAUNCH WINDOW: 2:17:44 a.m. – 2:17:56 a.m. (EDT)

MESSENGER is at the Astrotech Space Operations facilities near Kennedy Space Center, where it is undergoing pre-launch testing.

Testing of the spacecraft’s radio system uplink and downlinks through the KSC/JPL interface with the Deep Space Network (MIL-71) has been successfully completed. Autonomy testing continues. This verifies MESSENGER’s ability to operate on its own when not in direct contact with Earth. Installation of thermal blankets has been completed as required on the schedule up to this time.

The assembly of the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on Pad 17-B is currently scheduled to begin on June 18 with the stacking of the first stage.

The launch period for MESSENGER extends through Aug. 13 of this year.
MESSENGER was built for NASA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

SpaceRef staff editor.