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15-Apr-04 | Next launch

The next Delta launch will be Gravity Probe B, an intriguing Einsteinian relativity experiment. The spacecraft has been installed atop its two-stage Delta II at Vandenberg’s SLC-2W, and is ready to go on Monday, 19 April. (This is a two-day delay from its previous schedule.) Each launch opportunity is an instantaneous window, so any unexpected hold in the countdown will require a turnaround of at least 23 hours and 56 minutes. Upcoming windows are:

The two-day stand down in the middle of the week would be necessary to replenish the spacecraft’s Dewar tank with cryogenic helium, which is needed to keep GP-B’s highly sensitive gyroscopes cool.

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