Status Report

Spacecraft and Expendable Vehicles Status Report 18 Jun 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
June 18, 2003
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MISSION: Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B/Opportunity)

  • LAUNCH VEHICLE: Delta II Heavy
  • LAUNCH PAD: 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • LAUNCH DATE: June 25, 2003 NET
  • LAUNCH TIME: 12:27:31 a.m. / 1:08:45 a.m. EDT

The MER-1 rover, Opportunity, mated to the upper stage booster and
contained within its payload transporter, rolled out of the Payload
Hazardous Servicing Facility on Tuesday morning, June 17 at 1:58 a.m. It
arrived at Pad 17-B at 4:30 a.m. and was hoisted atop the Boeing MER-B Delta
II Heavy launch vehicle at 9:15 a.m.

The spacecraft electrical umbilical connections were established
last night. A spacecraft state of health check is under way today. The
integrated vehicle/spacecraft Flight Program Verification test will follow
on Thursday. This will demonstrate the ability of the spacecraft and the
launch vehicle to work together during the terminal countdown and flight.
The Simulated Flight Test of the Delta II vehicle has been successfully

Installation of the fairing around the spacecraft is scheduled to
occur on Saturday, June 21. Fueling of the Delta second stage with its
complement of storable hypergolic propellants is planned for Monday, June

The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) will be held on Saturday, June
21 in the Mission Briefing Room at KSC. Pending successful completion of
this review, launch is scheduled for June 26. There are no significant
issues or concerns at this time.

MISSION: SCISAT-1/Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment

  • LAUNCH FACILITY: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
  • LAUNCH DATE: August 2, 2003
  • LAUNCH TIME: 9:03:05 p.m. – 10:00:14 p.m. PDT

The SCISAT spacecraft is completing final testing at the Canadian
Space Agency’s David Florida Laboratories. Arrival of the spacecraft at
Vandenberg Air Force Base is currently scheduled for June 25.

After arrival, the solar arrays will be mated to the vehicle,
followed by spacecraft functional testing. SCISAT will be mated to the
Pegasus on or about July 7. This will be followed by integrated testing.
Installation of the fairing around the spacecraft is planned for July 22 and
mating to the L-1011 carrier aircraft on July 30.

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. Mating of the second and third stages occurred earlier this
week. The Mission Readiness Review for the vehicle is being held today at
Orbital Sciences headquarters in Dulles, Virginia.

The scientific mission of SCISAT-1/ACE (Atmospheric Chemistry
Experiment) 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

MISSION: Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF)

  • LAUNCH VEHICLE: Delta II Heavy
  • LAUNCH PAD: 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • LAUNCH DATE: August 23, 2003
  • LAUNCH TIME: 12:37:30 a.m. EDT

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 in early

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

The launch period extends to September 9.

SIRTF is the fourth and final element in NASA’s family of orbiting
“Great Observatories.” All objects in the universe with temperatures above
absolute zero (-460 F) emit some infrared radiation, or heat. Infrared
wavelengths lie beyond the red portion of the visible spectrum and are
invisible to the human eye. Most infrared light emitted by celestial
objects is absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists rely on orbiting
telescopes, such as SIRTF, to capture data on celestial objects and
phenomena that are too dim, distant or cool to study using ground-based
telescopes or by other astronomical techniques.

SpaceRef staff editor.