WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS FOR WEEK ENDING 19 SEPTEMBER 2003:
GRAVITY PROBE B LAUNCH STATUS
- The GP-B satellite is now scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Saturday, December 6, 2003 at approximately 5:52 PM PST.
- Conditioning of the dewar to a superfluid state has been completed. Conditioning is the process of taking liquid helium at a temperature of about 4 Kelvin to a colder state, known as superfluid, which will allow the helium to last throughout the duration of the mission. Filling the dewar with superfluid helium is a long, iterative process of repeated evacuations and fills.
- The dewar is now 95% full of superfluid helium, at a temperature of 1.65 Kelvin, and it will be maintained in this state from now until the launch.
- Boeing has begun erecting the booster on the launch pad. The first stage, interstage and second stage have all been erected.
- All other space vehicle preparation activities at Vandenberg are proceeding on schedule, as planned.
Photo: The Boeing Delta II booster rocket, standing on the launch pad. Click on the photo to view an enlargement. Notice the GP-B emblem at the top of the booster. Also, if you look closely, you can see the second stage at the base of the Mobile Service Tower (MST).