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18-Aug-06 | STEREO delay

STEREO continues to be delayed, but remains at the top of the launch schedule — currently no sooner than from now. This mission has had a total of seven delays since April for a series of minor glitches, including a small hydrazine leak on the Observatory A spacecraft and a faulty launch pad crane that prevented booster motor stacking. Most recently, a leak in a second-stage oxidizer tank at Boeing’s Decatur facility (intended for launching THEMIS later this year) means that all identical tanks must be checked. Unfortunately this means the second stage of the vehicle currently on the pad at SLC-17B must be de-stacked and taken to the High Pressure Test Facility, pushing the launch back by more than a week. Stacking of the spacecraft, previously planned for last week, has been put on hold while the second stage is in testing.

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