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06-Jun-04 | Delays

Both June launches have been pushed back by about a week due to concerns with their launch vehicles. A first stage hydraulic pump aboard the Delta II at Vandenberg (preparing to launch NASA’s Aura spacecraft) failed a pre-flight test and had to be swapped out. The pump aboard the Delta II at Canaveral (for NAVSTAR IIR-12) was from a similar production lot and thus was replaced as well. {I am looking for confirmation that this pump is part of the main engine steering system. -ed.}

This has delayed the launch of the Air Force GPS replenishment satellite until the evening of Friday, 11 June. Aura has further problems with its launch vehicle, however, with an unspecified issue in the second stage helium pressurization system. It is now slated to fly in the morning of 26 June.

Meanwhile, NASA’s Mercury orbiter MESSENGER waits patiently (at the Astrotech Space Operations facilities near KSC) for the pad at SLC-17B to clear. It is hoped that NAVSTAR IIR-12 can launch in time for stacking operations for MESSENGER’s Delta II-Heavy to begin on 21 June.

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