Status Report

Spacecraft and Expendable Vehicles Status Report 14 Nov 2002

By SpaceRef Editor
November 17, 2002
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MISSION: Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-J (TDRS-J)

  • LAUNCH VEHICLE: Lockheed Martin Atlas IIA (AC-144)
  • LAUNCH SITE: Pad 36-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • LAUNCH DATE: December 4, 2002 NET
  • LAUNCH WINDOW: 10:42 p.m. – 11:22 p.m. EST

The TDRS-J spacecraft is undergoing final checkout at the
Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility -2 in the KSC Industrial
Area. Encapsulation of the spacecraft into the Atlas payload fairing is
scheduled for Nov. 20 and the spacecraft will go to the pad on Nov. 22.

At Pad A on Launch Complex 36, the final test will be the
Composite Electrical Readiness Test (CERT) on Nov. 25 which occurs after
TDRS-J has been mated to the launch vehicle. This will verify that the
vehicle and spacecraft are operating on an integrated basis.

NASA and Lockheed Martin continue to assess the failure of an
upper stage turbo pump that occurred during testing at the vendor. While
the pump in question is not from an Atlas launch vehicle, it is similar to
what is on AC-144. More time is still necessary to complete the analysis,
so the launch is now targeted for Dec. 4. NASA and Lockheed Martin remain
optimistic that AC-144 will be cleared for launch in the next several days.

MISSION: Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESAT) and the Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer (CHIPSAT)

  • LAUNCH VEHICLE: Boeing Delta II with
  • Reduced Height Dual Payload Attach Fitting (DPAF)
  • LAUNCH SITE: SLC-2W Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB)
  • LAUNCH DATE: December 19, 2002
  • LAUNCH WINDOW: 4:45 – 5:30 p.m. PST

At the Astrotech Space Operations Payload Processing Facility,
ICESAT battery conditioning started Nov. 8 and will last 12 days. The
two-day spacecraft fueling operation begins Nov. 18. The Geoscience Laser
Altimeter System functional test and a solar array illumination test have
been successfully completed. The instruments on ICESAT have been developed
by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) under a contract
with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Also at Astrotech, CHIPSAT has successfully completed spacecraft
functional testing. The Payload Adapter Assembly and Payload Adapter
Fitting were installed onto the spacecraft Nov. 8. CHIPSAT mating to the
Reduced-Height Dual Payload Attach Fitting (RH DPAF) was completed on
November 12 and mating of the upper cone/cylinder to the lower cone of the
RH DPAF is underway today.

Meanwhile, at Space Launch Complex 2, the power-on testing of
the Boeing Delta II was completed successfully. The main propulsion system
leak checks are underway and will be completed on Friday. On November 14, a
Boeing Crew Certification (Crew Cert) and liquid oxygen loading will be
held. This is a countdown to exercise the launch team and the first stage
will be loaded with liquid oxygen. A Simulated Flight (Sim Flight) which is
a flight test of the vehicle’s electrical and mechanical systems will follow
on November 18.

There are no issues or concerns with the two spacecraft or the
Boeing Delta II launch vehicle and launch is on schedule for Thursday, Dec.
19 at 4:45 p.m. PST.

MISSION: Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE)

  • LAUNCH VEHICLE: Pegasus XL
  • LAUNCH LOCATION: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • LAUNCH DATE: January 25, 2003 NET
  • LAUNCH WINDOW: 3:09 p.m. – 4:09 p.m. EST T-0: 3:14 P.M. EST.

On the Pegasus launch vehicle, the four stages of the vehicle have
been de-mated. The electrical boxes containing the fasteners associated
with the fin actuators and the thrust vector control system have been
removed and returned to the vendor. The fasteners will be re-torqued. They
will be returned to Orbital for reinstallation on the vehicle next week.
The stages are to be re-mated the first week of December and will be
followed by a set flight simulations on November 6. The Combined Systems
Test is currently scheduled to occur on December 15. The ferry to KSC using
the Orbital Sciences L-1011 aircraft is anticipated for the third week of
December, expected to occur not later than December 21. Three Flight
Simulation tests are also planned at KSC prior to launch.

Processing of SORCE, built by the Orbital Sciences Space Systems
Group, has been going well since its arrival at the Kennedy Space Center on
Oct. 26 in the Multi-purpose Payload Processing Facility (MPPF). Due to
launch delay, no work has been conducted over the past week but will resume
on a limited basis next week. There are no spacecraft issues or concerns.

The SORCE project is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight
Center. The instruments on the SORCE spacecraft are built by the Laboratory
for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).

SpaceRef staff editor.