Status Report

Spacecraft and Expendable Vehicles Status Report 20 Nov 2002

By SpaceRef Editor
November 20, 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
  • LAUNCH WINDOW:9:42 – 10:22 p.m.EST

The TRDS-J spacecraft is undergoing final checkout at the Spacecraft Assembly Encapsulation Facility-2 in the KSC Industrial Area. Spacecraft mating to the payload adapter is scheduled for Nov. 20. Encapsulation of the spacecraft into the Atlas IIA payload fairing is scheduled for Nov. 21. The TDRS-J spacecraft will go to the pad on Nov. 23 where it will be mated to the launch vehicle.  

At Pad A on Launch Complex 36, the final major test will be the Composite Electrical Readiness Test (CERT) on Nov. 25. This will verify that the vehicle and spacecraft are operating in an integrated manner.

NASA and Lockheed Martin have cleared the RL-10 turbo pump for AC-144 flight. No further action on this issue is required prior to AC-144 launch.

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

  • LAUNCH VEHICLE: Delta II with Reduced-Height Dual Payload Attach Fitting (RH 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 was completed on Nov. 16. The two-day spacecraft fueling operation is in progress. ICESAT mating to its Payload Attach Fitting (PAF) is scheduled for Nov. 20. The ICESAT and upper PAF will then be mated to the Dual Payload Attach Fitting (DPAF) cone on Fri., Nov. 22.

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, Greenbelt, MD.

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 Nov. 12. Mating of the upper cone/cylinder to the lower cone of the RH DPAF was completed on Nov. 13.

Meanwhile, at Space Launch Complex 2, the power-on testing of the Boeing Delta II was completed successfully. The Boeing Crew Certification (Crew Cert) and liquid oxygen loading was completed on Nov. 14. This was a countdown to exercise the launch team and the first stage while loaded with liquid oxygen. The main propulsion system lead checks were completed on Nov. 15. A simulated Flight (Sim Flight), which is a flight test of the vehicle’s electrical and mechanical systems, was completed on Nov. 18.

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

MISSION: Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE)

  • LAUNCH LOCATION: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • LAUNCH DATE:January 25, 2003
  • LAUNCH WINDOW:3:10 p.m. – 4:08 p.m. EST

The three stages of the Pegasus launch 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 and undergo environmental and vibration testing. They will be returned to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., for reinstallation on the vehicle this week. The stages will be re-mated the first week of December and will be followed by a set of flight simulations.

The Combined Systems Test is currently scheduled to occur on Dec. 15. The ferry to KSC, using the Orbital Sciences L-1011 aircraft, is anticipated for the third week of December, and expected to occur no later than Dec. 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 KSC on Oct. 26. 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.