NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 1 December 2004

Status Report From: Kennedy Space Center
Posted: Wednesday, December 1, 2004

MISSION: Deep Impact
LAUNCH PAD: Pad 17-B Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
LAUNCH DATE: Jan. 8, 2005
LAUNCH WINDOW: 1:39:50 and 2:19:12 p.m. EST instantaneous

The NASA Launch Services Program conducted the Launch Vehicle Readiness Review on Nov. 30. At the conclusion, Jan. 8 was firmly established as the launch date for Deep Impact and this date has been set on the Eastern Range.

In processing activities at the Astrotech Space Operations facility located near Kennedy Space Center, the Deep Impact solar array panels will undergo an illumination test as a final check of performance on Dec. 8. The high-gain antenna used for spacecraft communications will be installed on Dec. 9 and the flight battery will be installed on Dec. 10. Deep Impact will then be ready to begin preparations for fueling, which is scheduled to start on Dec. 16 and be completed on Dec. 19. Mating to the payload attach fitting and upper stage booster occurs Dec. 22 - 23.

The spacecraft is currently scheduled to be transported to Pad 17-B on Dec. 28 and mated to the Boeing Delta II rocket. The Flight Program Verification, the major integrated test with the Delta II, occurs on Dec. 30. The Delta II payload fairing will be installed around the Deep Impact spacecraft on Jan. 4.

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft arrived in Florida on Oct. 23 to begin final preparations for launch. The spacecraft was shipped from Ball Aerospace & Technologies in Boulder, Colo., to Astrotech.

The stacking of the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on Pad 17-B began on Nov. 22 with the hoisting of the first stage into the launcher. Hoisting of the nine strap-on solid rocket boosters, in sets of three, began with the first set on Nov. 23 and the second on Nov 29. The last set is being installed on the vehicle today. The second stage will be hoisted into position atop the first stage on Friday, Dec. 3. The payload fairing will be hoisted and stowed in the mobile service tower on Dec. 6.

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