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Archive for 2001

07-Feb-01 | Launch contract option exercised for NOAA-N

NASA has exercised an option on its 1996 Med-Lite launch contract with Boeing to launch NOAA-N for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in early 2003. (Boeing press release, 7-Feb-01)

30-Jan-01 | Delta flight 283 – NAVSTAR IIR-7

In the early morning of Tuesday, 30 January, the 283rd Delta rocket launched NAVSTAR 2R-7, another Air Force Global Positioning System replenishment satellite. After a short countdown delay, the flight was a complete success despite difficulties with telemetry reception during the third stage burn. The 34th GPS satellite to reach orbit on a Delta entered a nominal transfer orbit 25 minutes after liftoff.

The mission patch, emblazoned on the side of the vehicle, honoured the 10 year anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, “the first space war” — i.e. the first conflict with extensive operational use of GPS. This latest GPS satellite will replace GPS 2A-10, launched in 1990 aboard Delta 201, which has exceeded its 7-year design lifetime and will move to a backup position.

26-Jan-01 | Boeing Delta programs merged

Boeing has merged its Delta II/III and Delta IV programs into a single entity, headed by Dan Collins, formerly vice president of the EELV/Delta IV program. (Spaceflight Now reprint of Boeing release, 23-Jan-01)

17-Jan-01 | Mars Odyssey arrives at KSC

The Mars Odyssey spacecraft arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility 2 (SAEF-2) on Thursday, 4 January, following transport from Colorado aboard a C-17 Globemaster III operated by the 315th Airlift Wing, based at Charleston AFB, South Carolina.

Readers familiar with Delta history will recognise this aircraft’s name from the instrumental role that the Globemaster II played in Thor missile design, though today’s C-17 is considerably larger than the C-124 of the 1950’s. (JPL release, 05-Jan-01, USAF release, 8-Jan-01, USAF photo during loading at Buckley AFB, Colo.)

One of its main instruments, the Gamma Ray Spectrometer, was shipped from the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory to KSC last week. (UA LPL has contributed to a massive list of planetary missions, including NEAR and Mars Global Surveyor.) A streaming web cam showing spacecraft processing is now available at the project web site. Mars Odyssey is set for launch on Saturday morning, 7 April, the first day of a 12-day primary launch window. Two instantaneous launch opportunities are available on this day.

10-Jan-01 | MGS mission extended

NASA has approved funding to extend the mission of Mars Global Surveyor through April 2002. MGS’ primary mission will end on 31 January. (, 13-Dec-00) Also, a KSC release (14-Dec-00) makes official what had previously been speculated here, that the second Mars Rover of 2003 will fly aboard a Delta II, exercising an option on a launch services contract signed with Boeing in June 2000.

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