SIRTF Launch Delayed

Image credit: NASA

The launch of NASA’s Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) was pushed back at least two days because high seas in the Indian Ocean are delaying a tracking ship from reaching its assigned position. The last of the Great Observatories, SIRTF will now launch on board a Delta 2 rocket no earlier than Monday, August 25 at 0535 GMT (1:35 a.m. EDT). The tracking ship will monitor the Delta 2’s upper stage as it carries SIRTF to a higher orbit after launch. The spacecraft will follow the Earth’s orbit and take pictures of some of the oldest, coldest and dust-obscured objects in the Universe.

The launch of NASA?s Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) has been rescheduled to no earlier than Monday, Aug. 25, at 1:35:39 a.m. EDT.

Winter conditions in the southern hemisphere are bringing high wind and high seas delaying the arrival of a tracking and instrumentation ship in the Indian Ocean that is mandatory to support launch. This ship is used to receive data from the Delta second stage. The progress of the ship toward its support location is being monitored. Weather conditions are gradually forecast to improve over the next few days but the arrival time of the ship on station is tentative.

At KSC, the SIRTF Mission Science Briefing has been rescheduled for Friday, Aug. 22 at noon EDT and will be followed by the prelaunch press conference at 1 p.m. EDT.

Original Source: NASA News Release