A major milestone was passed this week when the FUSE satellite was shipped from NASA/Goddard in Greenbelt, MD, to Cape Canaveral Air Station (CCAS) in Florida, in preparation for launch on May 20, 1999.
Simultaneously, a contingency test was performed in case last minute repairs to the satellite are needed. A sub-orbital rocket launched from CCAS successfully landed just outside Building 7 at Goddard, where FUSE testing took place. Building on the "cruise missile" idea, NASA has demonstrated that the pinpoint accuracy provided by this technology has peaceful uses as well.
"If needed, we can get this baby back to Goddard in no time," said Warren Moos, Principal Investigator for the project. "We won't have to fool around with shipping containers or trucks or anything. The whole ride only took about 15 minutes."
Preliminary unconfirmed rumors indicate that the functionality might actually be needed. One of the Inertial Reference Units (IRUs), which was supposed to have been re-installed in the FUSE satellite prior to shipping, was found sitting on a bench in the clean room after the truck left.
Contacted by phone, lead Integration and Test engineer Dan Mark said, "Since they can't fly the rocket back down here, I suppose we'll have to fly the satellite back to Goddard."
Reported by: I. Gotya, JHU FUSE Project
Photo: FUSE test launch arrives back at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, outside Building 7. (Click on photo to see enlarged version.)
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