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Archive for May, 2003

29-May-03 | MER-A delay

MER-A has been delayed for a few days in order to provide more schedule margin for mission managers to complete their pre-flight reviews. Launch is now targeted for no earlier than 8 June, but this could change by the time of the next official announcement on 2 June. The spacecraft arrived at SLC-17A on Tuesday, 27 May, and was hoisted into place atop its Delta II 7925 launch vehicle. Systems tests continue this week, and the payload fairing installation is set for Saturday, 31 May. MER-A’s launch period opens tomorrow (30 May) and extends through 19 June. (NASA ELV Status Report, 27-May-03)

16-May-03 | Send your name to a comet

NASA has invited the world to Send Your Name to a Comet! Submitted names will be stored on a compact disc to be installed on the impactor module of the Deep Impact spacecraft, a Discovery Program* mission set to launch aboard a Delta II at the end of 2004. Of course, given that the intent of the impactor is to create a crater on comet Tempel 1 as much as fourteen stories deep, should the mission succeed it will be impossible for some explorer in the distant future to retrieve the disc and play back the names. Still, the printable participation certificate is nice.

16-May-03 | Rover update

Work continues at Cape Canaveral for the flights of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers. The MER-2 rover in its entry vehicle has been mated to the MER-A cruise stage, and the complete spacecraft has been fuelled and spin balanced. It will be mated to the STAR-48B third stage on Friday, 23 May, and transported to SLC-17A the following Monday. At the pad, the first and second stages have been erected and the booster motors were installed this week. Launch remains set for 5 June. Meanwhile, full integration of the MER-1 entry vehicle is expected by 21 May, with attachment to cruise stage MER-B to follow. Stacking of the Delta 7925H launch vehicle at SLC-17B will continue over the next two weeks. MER-B’s launch period runs from 25 June through 15 July. (NASA ELV Status Report, 14-May-03)

05-May-03 | Editor’s note

On Sunday, 4 May, History of the Delta Launch Vehicle moved to a new host at The minor change in address (the dot was removed between “kevin” and “forsyth”) belies a major difference: the domain name is now owned by your humble editor and hosted on his own web server. With a hard drive capacity now orders of magnitude larger than previously available, the site will soon host an extensive Delta photo gallery, now in development. You may wish to update your bookmarks, though the old site ( will autoforward and remain online for the foreseeable future. Reports from the public of missing files, DNS resolution errors, and especially slow-loading pages will be greatly appreciated.



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