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Thu, Jul 15, 2004

Aura Launch Scrubbed... Again

Battery Glitch

The launch of NASA's Aura spacecraft atop a Boeing Delta II rocket was scrubbed Wednesday because of an issue with one of the two batteries on the second stage of the Delta II launch vehicle. At approximately three minutes before the scheduled liftoff time, as the batteries were being transferred to internal power, the battery current level dropped below prescribed limits, triggering a launch hold.

Engineers and mission managers are assessing the situation and deciding on a date for the next launch attempt. Two options are being considered. The first is to attempt a launch on Thursday morning, July 15, during a three-minute launch window that opens at 6:01:59 a.m. EDT (3:01:59 a.m. PDT). The second option under consideration is to stand down until Saturday, July 17, due to range conflicts at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Weather is a concern for a launch attempt on Thursday morning. The current forecast calls for only a 60 percent probability of acceptable weather conditions. The primary concerns are for thick clouds and the possibility of triggered lightning in the launch area due to the remnants of daytime thunderstorm activity in Southern California. In addition, Tropical Storm Blas, off the coast of Baja California, could prevent a P3 aircraft from flying to its launch support position. The P3 relays telemetry from the launch vehicle back to the launch team at Vandenberg.



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