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News — Prelaunch

Follow this link for current news.

October 23, 2006:

The Flight Readiness Review on Saturday gave the go ahead to fuel the Delta II second stage on Monday. Launch countdown starts Wednesday morning for launch at 8:38 p.m. EDT (01:53 UTC).

October 19, 2006:

The fairing was successfully installed over the STEREO observatories in preparation for launch.

October 12, 2006:

The STEREO observatories successfully transported to the SLC17B complex and have been mated to the DELTA II rocket. All operations went smoothly. The observatories transportation canister was removed and the observatory air conditioning shroud was installed. First power to the spacecraft has verified command and telemetry capability. The spacecraft functional testing is in progress.

October 6, 2006:

The STEREO observatories resumed processing at Astrotech. The 2nd stage was erected on LC-17B.

September 18, 2006:

STEREO's launch has been postponed to no earlier than October 25.

September 1, 2006:

A decision was made to remove the STEREO second stage from the launch vehicle and perform inspection from inside the propellant tank to verify it is structurally sound for flight.

The launch of STEREO is now targeted for no earlier than Oct. 18. An electrical checkout of the vehicle is under way due to lightning strikes within a one-third mile radius of Complex 17 during the passing of Tropical Storm Ernesto.

The STEREO observatories remain at the Astrotech Space Operations Facility. Today technicians removed the transportation canister from around the payload to begin the process of reconditioning the batteries and preparing for the storage period (currently about 30 days). The twin spacecraft will remain in storage until the necessary course of action for the Delta II can be more clearly defined. There was no effect on the STEREO spacecraft from Tropical Storm Ernesto.

August 21, 2006:

STEREO's launch has been postponed to no earlier than Sept. 18, the opening of the mission's next launch window. The additional time is necessary for further evaluation of the Delta II second stage to verify it is structurally sound for flight. This concern arose after further engineering analysis revealed that a similar tank produced for another mission was marginally thin in an area of the oxidizer tank. Engineers are assessing several options for the STEREO launch vehicle at Pad 17-B to determine the thickness of the tank in this same area.

August 17, 2006:

The STEREO observatories completed final spin balancing and weighing operations. The stacked observatories were mated to the Boeing Delta II 3rd stage and the clamp-band tensioning has been finalized. Both observatories are now canned in preparation for moving to the SLC17B. The Launch Site Readiness Review (LSRR) was conducted at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

August 11, 2006:

STEREO observatory operations resumed on 8/7 with the successful completion of the Delta II 2nd stage high pressure leak checks. The +X deck blankets were closed out in preparation for observatory stacking operations and installation of the SAAB clampband on 8/9. Final cleanings were done to the B Observatory SCIP enclosure and the two observatories were stacked and mated. The SAAB clampband was installed and tensioned for flight. Both observatories have been unbagged and moved from the north bay of the Hazardous Processing Facility (HPF) at Astrotech to the spin bay. Spin balance testing of the STEREO stacked observatories has been completed. All operations are on-track for mating to the 3rd stage next week on 8/16 and transport to the SLC17B on 8/18. STEREO has been officially placed on the range for an 8/31 launch.

The 2nd stage completed testing at the High Pressure Test Facility (HPTF) ahead of schedule and was given the go-ahead for re-erection. The 2nd stage was successfully re-erected on Sat 8/5 with no issue. The GPSIIR-15 2nd stage was erected shortly thereafter on 8/9 on SLC-17A. Both pads are smoothly proceeding with launch operations for STEREO and GPSIIR-15. The Delta 3rd stage is ready for STEREO and was moved from the HPF spin bay onto the transporter in the high bay in preparations for stacking and canning operations next week.

August 7, 2006:

The second stage of STEREO's Boeing Delta II rocket is back at Launch Complex 17 after passing a precautionary leak test last week. NASA elected to take a close look at the condition of the engine's oxidizer tank after a leak was discovered in an identical model at Boeing's manufacturing plant in Alabama. Meanwhile, the two STEREO observatories are being prepared for spin test activities.

July 27, 2006:

Because of a potential concern with the Delta II 2nd stage, launch has been delayed until at least August 31st. A propellant leak was discovered in the 2nd stage for another mission, and a similar problem may exist for the STEREO launch vehicle. To investigate the situation, the 2nd stage will be de-stacked and moved to a nearby facility for examination.

The anomaly investigation on the hydrazine leak during observatory fueling has been completed. The team unanimously agreed that the verification testing that was performed on the primary and secondary seal deemed that the valve is worthy for flight and that the anomaly was most likely a temporary condition that was the combination of more than one cause. Approval to proceed was obtained by the GSFC PMC. The propulsion system was pressurized and lock-wired for flight. The system is being monitored for leaks via pressure changes and localized sampling.

Final cleaning and blanket activities on the A observatory were performed this week in preparation for stacking the observatories. The SAAB clamp band was installed on observatory B. The observatory umbilical support equipment has been moved to the blockhouse and wiring verifications completed.

July 21, 2006:

Both observatories have been fully fueled with hydrazine. Pressurizing the tanks is awaiting investigation of a small leak which occured during fueling of Observatory A, to determine if it was due to side loading of the fueling lines, or something else. Boeing has successfully stacked the 2nd stage on the booster, and loaded the fairing into the white room on LC-17B. Payload to blockhouse wiring checks has started. Additionally, electrical and T-0 A/C umbilical eject testing was successfully completed.

July 14, 2006:

The final blanket closeouts on both Observatories were completed, and the observatories were moved to the Astrotech Hazardous Processing Facility (HPF) for spin and fueling operations.Both observatories have completed propulsion system pressure/leak and functional testing. Propellant loading has begun for both observatories. All Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) erections and mates on the Delta II launch vehicle have been completed.

July 7, 2006:

The STEREO Mission Readiness Review was conducted on June 27th; the PMC recommended that STEREO proceed with launch processing operations. Final blanket closeouts are in-progress, and the twin STEREO observatories are being prepared for moving to the HPF for spin and fueling operations.

May 3, 2006:

The two STEREO spacecraft have been delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for final testing and launch preparation. [Press release].

April 21, 2006:

The STEREO B Observatory completed deployment of the IMPACT Boom and EMC compatibility testing this week. Observatory A completed mass property testing in parallel.

April 13, 2006:

The STEREO B Observatory successfully completed the post thermal vacuum Comprehensive Performance testing (CPT). The B Observatory successfully executed a g-negated deployment test of the IMPACT boom in preparation of EMC testing. The B observatory has recently moved to the EMC facility and has begun EMC testing. The A Observatory remains in the SCA clean room and is undergoing mass property testing.

April 6, 2006:

The STEREO A Observatory successfully completed the post thermal vacuum Comprehensive Performance testing (CPT). The B Observatory CPT will be completed in the next few days. The A Observatory will begin mass property testing and the B Observatory EMC testing next week.

March 31, 2006:

The STEREO A&B Observatories are currently in progress with the post thermal vacuum Comprehensive Performance testing (CPT).

March 16, 2006:

Mission Simulation #3 has successfully completed, and the two STEREO observatories are about to come out of thermal vacuum testing.

March 10, 2006:

The STEREO A&B Observatory Thermal Vacuum testing continues to go well. Both Observatories are currently performing Mission Simulation #3 in parallel with the thermal transitions.

February 3, 2006:

Thermal Balance testing has completed bake out, cold survival, hot survival, and operational limits testing on both A&B Observatories, which are currently in the balance portion of the test.

January 27, 2006:

Both A&B Observatories are currently in the 290/SES Thermal Vacuum chamber at GSFC. The chamber door was closed and pump-down started. Thermal Balance testing will begin as soon as sufficient bake-out levels have been obtained. The test will run for close to 2 weeks before breaking the chamber to reconfigure for thermal vacuum testing.

January 13, 2006:

HI-B has been completely integrated onto the spacecraft. The A&B Observatories have completed the pre thermal vacuum Comprehensive Performance Testing (CPT). The Observatory-A has been installed in the thermal vacuum chamber, and Observatory-B is in the process of being installed.

December 16, 2005:

The A&B Observatories have completed spin balance testing of the "wet" observatory stack as well as the individual observatories. An end-to-end separation test was successfully executed. The last scientific instrument, HI-B, has been delivered to GSFC.

November 18, 2005:

The A&B Observatories have completed acoustics testing.

November 9, 2005:

The two STEREO spacecraft were successfully delivered to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for final testing. [Press release]

November 4, 2005:

The A&B Observatories have successfully completed all axes of the vibration test and modal survey. Both observatories are on schedule for delivery to NASA Goddard next week.

October 20, 2005:

The A&B Observatories have moved to the vibration facility and successfully completed stacking operations. Final preparations continue for the Vibration test. The Vibration Test Readiness Review was held, with an approval to proceed.

October 13, 2005:

The Heliospheric Imager instrument was integrated to the A observatory. This was the final subsystem major milestone before proceeding with the observatory level vibration test.

September 30, 2005:

The Observatory Pre-Environmental Baseline Comprehensive Performance Test has been completed on both observatories.

September 23, 2005:

The Behind Observatory has successfully completed the Pre-Environmental Baseline Comprehensive Performance Test (CPT). The HI-A instrument was delivered to APL.

September 9, 2005:

Mechanical integration of the solar arrays was completed this week, on both observatories, along with partial electrical integration.

September 1, 2005:

Observatory-B completed electrical offline electrical testing of the solar arrays and they have been mechanically installed.

August 19, 2005:

The In-situ Measurement of Particles and CME Transients Solar Energetics Package (SEP) Suite Functional Testing & CE testing and completed and was integrated to Observatory B. SEP Suite successfully integrated onto Observatory B and functional test completed.

August 12, 2005:

The PLAsma SupraThermal Ion Composition (PLASTIC) Flight Model 2, and the In-situ Measurement of Particles and CME Transients (IMPACT) SEP suite, were delivered to APL.

July 29, 2005:

Completed electrical integration of the Plasma Suprathermal Ion Composition (PLASTIC)-A instrument.

July 22, 2005:

The Instrument Data Processing Unit - B, and In-situ Measurement of Particles and CME Transients (IMPACT) Booms A&B completed integration and functional testing on both spacecraft. Both "A" and "B" spacecraft -Y panels have undergone final inspection and have been closed for flight. PLAsma SupraThermal Ion Composition (PLASTIC)-A instrument was delivered and integrated to the spacecraft.

July 8, 2005:

SECCHI-B mechanical and electrical integration has been completed.

July 1, 2005:

The Sun-Earth Connection Coronal Heliospheric Investigation (SECCHI) Sun Centered Imaging Package (SCIP) Bench B was delivered to APL, as was FM#2 of the STEREO/Waves instrument.

June 3, 2005:

Completed electrical integration of the following "A" Observatory instruments: SWAVES, SECCHI, and IMPACT IDPU. The "B" IMPACT Boom and IDPU arrived on 5/24. The IDPU has completed electrical integration.

May 27, 2005:

The Sun Earth Connection Coronal Heliospheric Investigation (SECCHI) Sun Centered Imaging Package (SCIP)-A and SECCHI Electronics Box (SEB)-B electrical integration with the spacecraft was successfully completed. The IMPACT-B Boom and IDPU were delivered to APL.

May 20, 2005:

The "A" SECCHI instrument Sun-Centered Imaging Package (SCIP) and SECCHI Electronics Box (SEB) was delivered and installed onto the spacecraft on 5/18. Electrical integration is underway. The "A" SWAVES instrument has also been delivered to APL.

May 13, 2005:

The Sun-Earth Connection Coronal Heliospheric Investigation (SECCHI) "A" instrument, Sun Centered Imaging Package (SCIP) and SECCHI Electronics Box (SEB) was delivered to APL.

April 29, 2005:

Mission Simulation #1 testing on Spacecraft "B" was completed.

The SEP Central/High Energy Telescope (HET)/ Low Energy Telescope (LET) instrument suite on the In-situ measurement instrument has completed vibration tests on the FM1 unit.

April 22, 2005:

The Solar Electron Package (SEP) Central/High Energy Telescope (HET)/Low Energy Telescope (LET) instrument suite has completed the acoustic testing for both FM1 and FM2 on the In-situ Measurement of Particles and CME Transients (IMPACT) instrument.

FM#1 & FM#2 vibration testing with post-vibration functional testing was successfully completed on the STEREO Waves (S/WAVES) instrument.

The Coronagraph (COR) 1-A, COR2-A and Guide Telescope (GT) performance and calibration tests have all been successfully completed.

April 15, 2005:

All spacecraft hardware has been integrated on both spacecraft except for the remaining two MIMUs, flight batteries, the High Gain Antennas (HGA), and Solar Arrays. The HGA's completed flight deployment testing. Electrical integration of the IMPACT boom was completed and the boom removed to complete spacecraft closeout activities.

The STEREO Waves (S/WAVES) FM #1 and FM#2 delivered to GSFC on 4/12. Both began vibration testing on 4/14.

April 8, 2005:

Successfully completed the 72 hour Command Loss Test on Spacecraft "A". The Integrated Electronics Module (C&DH) performed nominally.

The In-situ Measurement of Particles and CME Transients (IMPACT) boom was delivered from University of California (UCB) to APL.

The FM1 Boom Suite of the In-situ Measurement of Particles and CME Transients (IMPACT) instrument was delivered and integrated onto Spacecraft A.

April 1, 2005:

Electrical integration and checkout of the "A" propulsion system was completed. This included a thruster "puff test".

March 25, 2005:

The 1st Mission Simulation was run this week. Two of the three planned simulations were completed and operated as planned. Configuration issues, with the RF subsystem, impacted completion all of the simulations. The Delta-V maneuver and momentum dump simulations went very well. The detumble simulation will be rescheduled.

The "A" Instrument Data Processing Unit was delivered and completed electrical integration on 3/11.

March 18, 2005:

The "B" spacecraft completed electrical integration of the flight Integrated Electronics Module (IEM). This now gives a full complement of flight spacecraft subsystems on both the "A" and "B" spacecraft except for the Honeywell gyros (MIMU), solar arrays, High Gain Antennas, and flight batteries.

March 10, 2005:

Both the "A" and "B" spacecraft have successfully completed DSN testing.

The In-Situ Measurement of Particles and CME Transients (IMPACT) Instrument data Processing Unit (IDPU) FM1 was shipped to APL and will be integrated onto spacecraft "A" later this week.

February 11, 2005:

Spacecraft "A" has all electrical components installed (except for the IMU's) and is currently in electrical checkout and preparations for DSN/CTT testing due to start February 21.

Post Thermal-Vacuum functional and performance testing of the Sun Centered Imaging Package (SCIP)-A Assembly has been completed on the Sun-Earth Connection Coronal Heliospheric Investigation (SECCHI) instrument.

The In-situ Measurement of Particles and CME Transients (IMPACT) Instrument Data Processing Unit FM1 and FM2 have both successfully completed their environmental tests.

January 28, 2005:

The solar arrays were shipped from Emcore and arrived at APL.

January 14, 2005:

The In-situ Measurement of Particles and CME Transients (IMPACT) FM2 High Energy Telescope (HET) Instrument was delivered to Caltech this week for final integration with the Solar Energetic Package (SEP) Central unit and the Low Energy Telescope (LET) instrument. Both FM1 and FM2 SEP- Central/HET/LET should be fully integrated and ready for test at the beginning of next week.

December 10, 2004:

The two S/WAVES flight antennas were shipped to GSFC for final bakeout.

September 2, 2004:

Spacecraft "B" has been shipped to APL.

August 27, 2004:

Spacecraft "A" has been shipped to APL, and integration and test activities have begun.

August 13, 2004:

The Launch Vehicle Interface Control Document (ICD) was signed for release. The SECCHI EUVI-A, GT-A, COR1-A, COR2-A and MEB-A flight subsystems have all been integrated onto the SCIP bench.

August 6, 2004:

Aerojet has completed all proof/leaf/functional testing of both spacecraft A & B propulsion systems.

July 16, 2004:

The SECCHI Extreme Ultra-Violet Imager (EUVI) and Guide Telescope (GT) for the STEREO-A spacecraft were delivered by LMSAL to NRL.

June 19, 2004:

The IMPACT flight boom has completed its first qualification test successfully.

June 9, 2004:

Both the STEREO and Science Center websites are now operational. The first website is intended to be the main entry point for the public, while the second is targeted to the STEREO team and users of STEREO data. Included in the Science Center site is the password-protected intranet site.

June 4, 2004:

The STEREO A & B spacecraft have been successfully shipped to Aerojet to have their propulsion systems installed.

May 28, 2004:

Both A and B spacecraft successfully completed the structural loads test in a stacked configuration with the flight separation system.

Last Revised: Monday, 29-Jan-2007 20:50:40 UTC
Responsible NASA Official: [email address: Therese.A.Kucera<at>nasa<dot>gov]
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