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Archive for September, 2004

24-Sep-04 | Next launch

The next Delta II launch will be NAVSTAR IIR-13 for the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System. The flight is now scheduled for 8 October, having been delayed by a couple of weeks by Hurricane Frances, which it weathered without significant damage. However, with the impending landfall of Hurricane Jeanne, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (along with Kennedy Space Center) is once again shut down.

09-Sep-04 | Genesis plummets to earth

The Genesis mission came to a dismal conclusion yesterday upon its return to Earth.

The spacecraft’s drogue chute and parafoil failed to deploy, and Genesis (launched on Delta 287, 08-Aug-01) slammed into the Utah desert at a speed approaching 200 miles per hour. Scientists had hoped for a neat mid-air capture by helicopter in order to preserve from contamination minute samples of the solar wind which had been collected over the past three years; now they may be lucky to salvage a fraction of the expected data.

One can only hope that Stardust, a comet sample return mission expected to land in Utah via parachute in January 2006, does not suffer a similar fate.

02-Sep-04 | Hurricase Frances on approach

Processing operations for the next Delta launches, NAVSTAR IIR-13 and NASA’s Swift, have been put on hold in anticipation of Hurricane Frances, which is expected to make landfall south of Cape Canaveral some time on Saturday, 4 September. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center were closed to personnel of Thursday, and much of the surrounding area is being evacuated. At Hangar AE, Swift has been bundled in a double protective bag and has been sealed inside its transport canister for good measure.

Here’s wishing friends, the Delta team, the Space Coast, and everyone in the path of Frances — Godspeed and safe passage.



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