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Archive for June, 2003

09-Jun-03 | Spirit scrubbed again

Another day, another scrub. On Monday, the line of thunderstorms approaching the Cape was even more obvious and severe than that of Sunday, and managers called off the attempt before the terminal count could begin with the release of the hold at T-minus 150 minutes. Weather conditions for Tuesday are improving (now down to 30% from 40% chance of violating launch constraints), and MER-A Spirit will try again then.

09-Jun-03 | Rover names announced

NASA has announced the names of the two rovers in the Mars Exploration Rover program. They are, in order of launch, Spirit and Opportunity. The winning names were submitted by Sofi Collis, a 9-year-old third grader from Scottsdale, Arizona, and selected from nearly 10,000 contest entries from grade school students.

08-Jun-03 | Spirit scrubbed

Scrub! The first launch attempt for MER-A Spirit has been called on account of rain. A line of severe thunderstorms approaching the Cape led NASA and Delta managers to decide to move the Mobile Service Tower back into place around the launch pad as quickly as possible in order to protect the vehicle and spacecraft from high winds and water. Fueling of the Delta first stage had been essentially completed before the scrub call, and the tank was quickly drained before MST movement. The weather report is the same for Monday and slightly better for Tuesday, with a strong chance of cumulus clouds, developing thunderstorms, and associated anvil clouds each afternoon.

07-Jun-03 | MER-A ready to go

MER-A is ready to go! Mission managers have closed out all of their reviews, and operations are progressing on schedule. Now the only issue is with the weather, which — as is typical of Florida this time of year — threatens developing afternoon thunderstorms. NASA will announce the names of the rovers, along with the grade school student who submitted the names, at a ceremony Sunday morning at 10:00 EDT, less than five hours before launch. All events will be carried live on NASA’s first-time online coverage of an expendable vehicle mission, called “NASA Direct!” — and if this mission has anywhere near the public response that Mars Pathfinder did, the real challenge tomorrow will be in keeping the web servers from being overwhelmed with visitors.

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