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
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
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
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
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
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
May 3, 2006:
The two STEREO spacecraft have been delivered to the
Kennedy Space Center in Florida for final testing and launch preparation.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.