Photo: FUSE in its shipping container and on the truck, ready to hit the road!
(Click on photo to see enlarged version.)
At about 10:00 p.m. on March 30, 1999, a truck carrying the FUSE satellite pulled out of Goddard Space flight Center bound for Cape Canaveral. The satellite is in a special container that keeps the satellite clean and safe from shocks resulting from potholes or sudden stops. The optics are under a constant dry nitrogen purge, and the detector ion pumps are continuously powered to maintain proper vacuum. FUSE arrived at the Cape safely on the evening of March 31.
Early last month the two refurbished inertial reference units, each of which contains three gyroscopes used for fine pointing control, were reinstalled in the spacecraft. All indications are that the problems have been fixed and the projected lifetime of the IRUs is now far longer than the 3 year mission life of FUSE. The hardware is in very good shape!
On March 24 a launch simulation was conducted from the Satellite Control Center. A variety of simulated problems and failures were thrown at the Mission Operations Team both before and immediately after simulated "launch." The team handled the simulation with very few problems, and it was one of the best exercises to date. Additional work is still needed to improve instrument operations, but tests scheduled for mid-April should help this situation.
A Post-Test Review, concentrating on the state of the satellite hardware, was held on March 25 in Baltimore. This review was very successful, with only a small number of outstanding issues to address. We viewed a successful outcome of this review as necessary before shipping the satellite to the Cape.
In addition, good progress is being seen in the requalification of the primary ground station antenna in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The repaired antenna has been installed, and a We now expect the antenna to be ready to support FUSE on-orbit operations.
Launch is scheduled for 11:36 a.m. on May 20, 1999. It's getting close!
Reported by: Scott Friedman, JHU Project Scientist
Added 4/6/99: Live FUSE Processing Video from hangar AE at CCAS!
Added 4/6/99: KSC PAO Pix of FUSE in Hangar AE at CCAS.
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