Another Delay for Opportunity

Article written: 7 Jul , 2003
Updated: 19 Dec , 2015
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Image credit: NASA

NASA has pushed back the launch of its second Mars Exploration rover, “Opportunity”, again; this time because of a battery failure on the Boeing Delta II booster. The launch has now been set for Tuesday, July 8 at 0235 GMT (10:35 pm EDT Monday). Even this launch date is at risk, though, as there’s a 30% chance of weather problems. It looks like the previous problem with the booster’s cork insulation has been resolved; although, engineers will be performing further tests to ensure that everything’s fine. The spacecraft must launch before July 15 in order to reach Mars.

The launch of the MER-B Mars Exploration Rover ?Opportunity? aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket has been postponed an additional 24 hours. The delay is due to the failure of a battery cell associated with a component of the launch vehicle?s flight termination system. The battery must be removed and replaced.

Launch is now targeted for no earlier than Monday, July 7. The two launch times available are 10:35:23 and 11:18:15 p.m. EDT. The forecast calls for a 30% chance of not meeting the launch weather criteria on Monday evening.

At Pad 17-B, a tanking test of the Delta rocket was conducted this morning. The first stage was loaded with cryogenic liquid oxygen to evaluate the bonding of the lower band of cork thermal insulation. This afternoon, NASA and Boeing managers met to discuss the outcome of the tanking test and other associated testing and engineering evaluations that have been conducted over the last several days.

After the tanking, inspections revealed some selective debonding of the cork from the surface of the vehicle within a limited area. These locations are being repaired using a different adhesive with a stronger bonding characteristic as demonstrated by tests conducted at KSC late this week. This work was completed tonight and the problem has been resolved to the satisfaction of engineers.

Original Source: NASA News Release


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