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23-Oct-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 Saturday, 30 October. Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne caused only minor damage at SLC-17, but managed to delay operations by a couple of weeks, from 8 to 25 October. Now an explosive line igniter for the third stage spin stabilization motors (a leak was found on a similar component at the factory) and the need to ensure the well-being of the flight control system (after a test anomaly on another Delta II booster) have pushed the flight back by another 5 days.

Delay at Pad B has had a ripple effect at Pad A, where the Delta Med-Lite 7320 for NASA’s Swift has been stacked since 8 October. Swift was mated to its payload attach fitting on 21 October but might not be moved to the pad until after the NAVSTAR launch. Spaceflight Now states that officials are concerned about a possible “launch accident that could damage Swift,” an event accurately called “highly unlikely.” (Spaceflight Now, 22-Oct-04)

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