Status Report

Spacecraft and Expendable Launch Vehicles Status Report 28 May 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
May 28, 2003
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MISSION: Mars Exploration Rover (MER-A)

  • LAUNCH TIMES: 2:05:55 p.m. / 2:44:07 p.m. EDT

The MER-2 rover, mated to the upper stage booster and contained within its payload transporter rolled out of the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility this morning at 2:20 a.m. It arrived at Pad 17-A at 4:30 a.m. It was hoisted atop the Boeing Delta II rocket at 9:15 a.m. A spacecraft state of health check is scheduled to occur on Wednesday and the integrated vehicle/spacecraft Flight Program Verification test will follow on Thursday. Installation of the fairing around the spacecraft is scheduled to occur this Saturday, May 31. Fueling of the Delta second stage with its complement of storable hypergolic propellants is currently planned to occur June 5.

Some additional schedule margin is being added to complete the management reviews required prior to launch. Therefore, launch is being retargeted to occur no earlier than June 8. A final decision on the launch date will be made next Monday, June 2.

MER-A will have two launch opportunities each day during the launch period that closes on June 19. Arrival at Mars is set for Jan 4, 2004, regardless of the launch date within that period.

The Delta first stage for MER-A was erected on Pad 17-A on April 23. The second stage erection was completed on April 28, and the fairing was installed in the white room on April 30. The solid rocket booster erection began on May 13 with the first set of three motors being attached to the first stage. The second set of three was erected on May 14, and the final set was hoisted into position on May 15. The Simulated Flight Test, an electrical test of the vehicle’s systems used during powered flight, was successfully completed on May 21.

MISSION: Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B vehicle/MER-1 rover)

  • LAUNCH VEHICLE: Delta II Heavy
  • LAUNCH PAD: 17-B
  • LAUNCH DATE: June 25, 2003
  • LAUNCH TIME: 12:38:16 a.m. / 1:19:19 a.m. EDT

Fueling of MER-1 began today and will be completed tomorrow May 28. Spin balance testing will begin the next day on May 29 and is to be followed by mating to the Delta third stage (upper stage booster) on June 14. Transportation to the launch pad is scheduled for June 15.

The MER-B vehicle’s first stage is on Pad 17-B. Erecting the nine solid rocket boosters in sets of three a day was completed May 22. The second stage will be hoisted atop the first stage tomorrow, May 28.

The MER-B launch period closes July 15.

MISSION: SCISAT-1/Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment

  • LAUNCH FACILITY: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
  • LAUNCH DATE: NET July 25, 2003
  • LAUNCH TIME: 10:36:55 p.m. – 11:34:04 p.m. PDT

The SCISAT spacecraft is completing final testing at the Canadian Space Agency’s David Florida Laboratories. The pre-ship review prior to transportation of the spacecraft to Vandenberg Air Force Base is scheduled for Friday, May 30. It is currently scheduled to arrive at Vandenberg on June 19.

SCISAT-1 weighs approximately 330 pounds and will be placed in a 400-mile-high polar orbit to investigate processes that control the distribution of ozone in the upper atmosphere.

Meanwhile, the Pegasus XL rocket is undergoing prelaunch preparations at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

The scientific mission of SCISAT-1/ACE (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment) mission is to measure and understand the chemical processes that control the distribution of ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere, particularly at high altitudes. The data from the satellite will provide Canadian and international scientists with improved measurements relating to global ozone processes and help policy makers assess existing environmental policy and develop protective measures for improving the health of our atmosphere, preventing further zone depletion. The mission is designed to last two years.

MISSION: Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF)

  • LAUNCH VEHICLE: Delta II Heavy
  • LAUNCH PAD: 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • LAUNCH DATE: August 27, 2003

The SIRTF observatory is in NASA’s class 10,000 laminar flow clean room at spacecraft Hangar AE awaiting its return to the launch pad, currently anticipated to occur in mid-August.

Project management of SIRTF for NASA is by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The observatory has been built for NASA by Lockheed Martin and Ball Aerospace.

SpaceRef staff editor.