KSC release No.: 124-02
PEGASUS ARRIVES AT KSC FOR LAUNCH OF SORCE PAYLOAD IN JANUARY
The Pegasus XL Expendable Launch Vehicle, built by the Orbital
Sciences Corp., Dulles, Va., arrived at the Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station (CCAFS), Fla., Skid Strip on Dec. 17. The vehicle was ferried
non-stop from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), Calif., using the
Orbital Sciences L-1011 aircraft.
The Pegasus vehicle will be transported to the Multi-Payload
Processing Facility (MPPF) in the Industrial Area at Kennedy Space
Center later today. The vehicle will be towed into the highbay to
undergo testing, verification and three flight simulations prior to
its scheduled launch in late January 2003.
The Pegasus XL vehicle will carry NASA's Solar Radiation and Climate
Experiment (SORCE) into orbit. The SORCE satellite includes four
instruments to study and measure solar irradiance as a source of
energy in the Earth's atmosphere.
SORCE was built by Orbital Sciences Space Systems Group. The SORCE
project is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt,
Md. The instruments were built by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and
Space Physics (LASP) for the University of Colorado.
Tammy Harrington, mission integration manager for the SORCE mission
said, "The arrival of the Pegasus XL launch vehicle marks a
significant milestone in the launch preparations for the SORCE
mission. This mission will demonstrate the unique capability where the
Pegasus vehicle and the SORCE spacecraft are co-processed and
integrated entirely at KSC." SORCE will be the third Pegasus launched
from CCAFS, but the first Pegasus "campaign mission" operation at NASA
The SORCE spacecraft has undergone spacecraft testing and processing
activities since its arrival in October 2002. SORCE will be mated to
the Pegasus rocket inside the MPPF and additional testing will be
performed concurrent with the Pegasus XL launch vehicle. This event
will mark the first time that both a launch vehicle and a payload have
been processed, tested and integrated in parallel inside the same
facility at KSC prior to being transported to the launch site. It will
also be the first time that the Pegasus vehicle receives final launch
processing at KSC rather than VAFB.
The spacecraft-to-launch vehicle mate is currently planned for Jan. 5,
2003. Fairing installation will occur on Jan. 20, leading to transport
back to the CCAFS Skid Strip for final launch preparations on Jan. 22.
The MPPF at KSC will also be used for NASA's GALEX (Galaxy Evolution
Explorer) mission in the first quarter of 2003. GALEX was developed
and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Launch of the Pegasus vehicle, carrying SORCE into a low-Earth orbit,
is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2003. NASA's Kennedy Space Center is
responsible for government oversight of launch vehicle engineering,
spacecraft integration and launch countdown management.