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17 Jun 2004
(Source: Kennedy Space Center)

June 17, 2004

George H. Diller
NASA Kennedy Space Center

LAUNCH PAD: 17-B Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
LAUNCH DATE: July 30, 2004
LAUNCH WINDOW: 2:17:44 a.m. - 2:17:56 a.m. EDT

MESSENGER is undergoing prelaunch testing at the Astrotech Space Operations facilities near Kennedy Space Center.

Autonomy testing of the spacecraft has been successfully completed. This verifies MESSENGER's ability to operate on its own when not in direct contact with Earth. Installation of thermal blankets continues.

The two solar arrays will be installed June 23 -24 and deployment tests conducted. Spacecraft propellant loading is currently scheduled for June 28 - July 2. Spacecraft spin balance testing is planned for July 7 and mating to the upper stage booster will occur July 12. The spacecraft will leave Astrotech for Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on July 16 and be mated to the Delta II rocket at Pad 17-B. Meanwhile, stacking of the launch vehicle on the pad is currently planned to begin on June 26, one week after the launch of the Delta II carrying the Air Force Global Positioning Satellite is currently scheduled to occur.

There are no technical issues or concerns with MESSENGER or its associated Delta II at this time.

The launch period for MESSENGER extends through Aug. 13.

MESSENGER was built for NASA by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

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Last Updated: 17 Jun 2004