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16-Jun-00 | Next launch

The next Delta II will carry NAVSTAR 2R-5, a Global Positioning System replenishment satellite. The launch has returned to the schedule, meaning that the stacking issue has been resolved. During initial stacking around the 1st of June, engineers were unable to make the interstage and the second stage thrust skirt mate properly. (The interstage is a hollow cylindrical section atop the first stage that conceals the second stage engine and joins the two stages.) The interstage was suspected of being out of round and was replaced, but a second attempt also failed. Boeing engineers proceeded to take precise measurements of all parts involved to determine what needed modification or replacement. In the meantime, the Air Force chose not to reserve a range slot until the stacking resumed. This flight is slated to carry a “twin videoroc,” a pair of aft-facing cameras mounted 180 degrees apart on the second stage, for an unprecedented view of launch and staging. Unfortunately, the new launch date slipped far enough into the future that the launch window is now over an hour before dawn, and the electrical crew may have to pull the hardware for use on a later flight.

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