Launch Postponed Until October 15

October 13, 1997


from Kennedy Space Center

The launch of NASA's Cassini spacecraft aboard an Air Force Titan IV/Centaur rocket has been postponed until Wednesday, Oct. 15.

The primary issue was upper level wind conditions which had the potential of blowing debris outside safe impact limit lines. The recycle involves moving the mobile service tower back into position around the rocket, detanking the Centaur upper stage, and restarting launch processing.

The Cassini spacecraft requires no significant turnaround activity to prepare for the next launch attempt. During the countdown, a non-critical software error was detected in the Cassini software testbed at the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory. The testbed reverifies software identical to that installed on the spacecraft. The software in which the error was found is used in the early cruise phase of the mission but is not critical to launch. The issue is
expected to be resolved before the launch attempt on Wednesday.

The weather forecast on Wednesday has only a 20% chance of not meeting the launch weather criteria. Upper level wind conditions at 40,000 feet are expected to weaken and gradually shift to the west. At launch time, there will be scattered clouds, a temperature near 78 degrees, a relative humidity of 93 percent with surface winds from the East, 13 - 17 knots.

The launch window on Wednesday extends from 4:43 a.m. to 7:03 a.m. EDT.

Additional information about Cassini-Huygens is online at

Cassini will begin orbiting Saturn on July 1, 2004, and release its piggybacked Huygens probe about six months later for descent through the thick atmosphere of the moon Titan. Cassini-Huygens is a cooperative mission of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

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