MER-B/Opportunity Update - June 25, 2003

June 25, 2003

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center

MISSION: Mars Exploration Rover (MER-B/Opportunity)
LAUNCH PAD: 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
LAUNCH DATE: June 28, 2003
LAUNCH TIME: 11:56:16 p.m. / 12:37:59 a.m. EDT

The Flight Readiness Review was held on June 21, and afterward, a
decision was made to postpone the launch by at least a couple of days.
Based on routine post-test inspections, the launch team elected to remove
and replace a band of protective cork insulation on the Delta first stage
that may not have been adhering properly. The location is below the forward
attach points of the strap-on solid rocket boosters. Inspections of a
second band located higher on the first stage showed that only minor work is
necessary to assure that it is ready for launch.

All of the reapplication and repair of the cork insulation will be
completed today. Normal countdown activities will then resume on Thursday,
beginning with the fueling of the Delta second stage with its complement of
storable hypergolic propellants. A countdown dress rehearsal will also be
held on Thursday. The Launch Readiness Review will be held on Friday in the
Mission Briefing Room at KSC.

The fairing was installed around the MER-B "Opportunity"
spacecraft on June 21. Fairing closeouts will begin tonight. Integrated
spacecraft/launch vehicle testing indicates that the flight systems are
ready for launch.

At Pad 17-B on launch day, the mobile service tower will be
retracted from around the Delta II about 3:30 p.m. if weather permits.
Options are available to retract the mobile service tower later if there are
thunderstorms in the vicinity and still reach one or both of the two
available launch times.

Loading of the RP-1 fuel aboard the Delta first stage is nominally
planned to begin at 9:16 p.m. followed by loading of liquid oxygen at about
10:06 p.m.

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Ron Baalke
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