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)