Monthly Newsletter

December 2002

SORCE Mission Status

Launch Date Update –
The SORCE launch remains set for January 25 from Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The Pegasus launch vehicle has been refurbished and there is no reason to think that SORCE will not launch on January 25 as currently planned. KSC will be shut down to all launching for the month of February.
The ICESat and SORCE launches were originally scheduled within one week of each other in December. Although never really an issue, the SORCE delay will create a calmer working environment for LASP’s Mission Operations staff.

Kennedy Space Center Activity –
When the launch date was moved into January, the SORCE spacecraft was bagged, the purge line set to provide a clean positive pressure environment, and the clean room doors were closed and locked for several weeks. In early December, the doors were opened and work proceeded again on readying SORCE for launch. After a functionality checkout and recharging the battery, limited performance tests (LPTs) and analysis were run. The testing will continue with additional dry-run flight readiness testing, inspections, and meetings to review the system integrations, upcoming mates, and data handling. New microprocessor boot code was loaded and tested to make the mission more robust at the end-of-life.

The ground crew examines the Pegasus after its arrival to KSC on December 17.

The Pegasus for the SORCE payload arrived via a specially modified L-1011 carrier aircraft at KSC on December 17. The non-stop flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California was very routine. After the L-1011 landed, the Pegasus was separated from the aircraft and transported on a large trailer to the High Bay integration area where testing on the Pegasus began. Testing on just the launch vehicle (Flight Simulation Tests 1 and 2) takes place for about two weeks before the payload separation system is installed. Flight Sim Test 3 involves the electric interface testing before the spacecraft is physically attached to the rocket. If all goes as planned, the SORCE spacecraft will be bolted to the Pegasus launch vehicle in early January. Flight Sim Test 4 is concluded just prior to closing the clamshell or fairing around the SORCE payload. This is scheduled to begin on January 15, and it will be the last opportunity to see or handle SORCE.

Countdown to Launch - January 25
(as of December 30, 2002)

26 Days

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