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Archive for September, 2003

21-Sep-03 | NOAA-N’ damaged

On 6 September, the NOAA-N Prime spacecraft, under construction for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Sunnyvale, California, dropped from a support fixture. An investigation into the cause of the incident and extent of the damage is underway. NOAA-N Prime, a critical part of the U.S. weather and climate monitoring capability, was tentatively scheduled to launch aboard a Delta Med-Lite in 2008. (NASA Press Release, 09-Sep-03)

12-Sep-03 | GP-B delay

Gravity Probe B has been delayed once again, this time for the same reason that last postponed SIRTF: “delaminations within the layers of material that comprise the solid rocket booster nozzle exit-cone liners.” Three of the ATK Thiokol-built GEM 40 booster motors will be replaced as a precautionary measure. Nevertheless, stacking of the two-stage Delta 7920 at Space Launch Complex 2-West remains slated to begin next Monday, 15 September, with stacking of the second stage now set to precede attachment of the GEM 40 motors. (NASA ELV Status Report, 10-Sep-03)

03-Sep-03 | First SIRTF image released

Though the start of its science mission is still several weeks away, SIRTF has returned its first “aliveness test” image, available here. The image is fuzzy because the optics are not yet properly chilled down. Meanwhile, it appears that the upper stage of Delta 300, which propelled SIRTF into space, has become the first Delta second stage to enter heliocentric orbit — previous solar orbit flights have all used a third stage solid motor. (JSR 508, 2-Sep-03)



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