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Delta 4-Heavy preview
Preview what a Boeing Delta 4 rocket launch will be like with this animation package of a "Heavy" configuration vehicle. (1min 41sec file)
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Spirit panorama
This amazing panorama of the martian surface at Columbia Hills was taken by the Spirit rover. Expert narration is provided by camera scientist Jim Bell. (2min 12sec file)
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Update on Mars rovers
Mars Exploration Rover project manager Jim Erickson and panoramic camera lead scientist Jim Bell offer comments on the status of the Spirit and Opportunity missions (1min 33sec file)
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Delta rocket assembly
The first stage of Boeing's Delta 2 rocket that will launch NASA's Swift gamma-ray burst detection observatory in November is erected on pad 17A at Cape Canaveral, Florida. (4min 52sec file)
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Solid boosters arrive
The three solid-fueled rocket boosters for the Boeing Delta 2 vehicle that will launch the Swift satellite are hoisted into the pad 17A mobile service tower. (4min 55sec file)
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SRBs go for attachment
The mobile service tower carries the solid boosters into position for attachment to the Delta 2 rocket's first stage. (3min 08sec file)
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Swift nose cone
The two halves of the 10-foot diameter rocket nose cone that will enclose NASA's Swift satellite during launch aboard a Boeing Delta 2 vehicle are lifted into the pad 17A tower. (4min 26sec file)
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X Prize launch
SpaceShipOne with pilot Brian Binnie rocket into space on the second of two flights needed to win the $10 million X Prize. (2min 32sec file)
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Monday's flight
This longer length clip of SpaceShipOne's second X Prize launch following the ascent, feathering of the wings and the start of re-entry. (5min 56sec file)
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Safe landing
Brian Binnie, the world's second private astronaut, brings SpaceShipOne to a safe landing at Mojave airport to capture the X Prize. (5min 55sec file)
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New launch date announced for Delta 4-Heavy debut

Posted: October 10, 2004

The debut launch of Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket has been rescheduled due to Florida's hurricane troubles this summer and three technical issues, company officials announced Friday.

Photo: Carleton Bailie/Boeing
The booster was assembled horizontally inside a hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last fall, then rolled to pad 37B on December 9 where it was erected. Boeing has spent the past several months putting the rocket through extensive testing and fueling exercises to prepare for launch.

Boeing had hoped the massive booster would fly in early July, but delays pushed the mission into September and then October.

Now, the liftoff is targeted for November 18 during a three-hour launch window that extends from 2:28 to 5:28 p.m. EST (1928-2228 GMT).

The rocket will carry dummy satellite and two tiny nanosatellites into orbit during this qualification flight financed by the U.S. Air Force. The launch is designed to verify the heavy-lift version of the Delta 4 fleet works correctly before critical national security spacecraft are entrusted to the booster starting next year.

This most recent postponement gives engineers time to address a handful of technical concerns.

"The revised launch date takes into account lost time for launch site personnel securing the Delta Launch facilities, including the SLC-37B launch complex, against three consecutive hurricanes, as well as post hurricane facility and launch vehicle inspections," Boeing said in a statement Friday.

"It also provides time for the Delta 4 team to perform minor vehicle hardware verification in preparation for launch, including removal and retest of Electronic Control Unit (ECU) boxes.

"In addition, the encapsulated payload is being de-mated from the Heavy Demo launch vehicle in order to remove and replace second stage ullage pressure transducers, and to ultrasonically inspect the composite Payload Adapter Fitting (PAF)."

The press statement did not indicate what prompted the concerns with the control units, transducers or payload fitting.

The rocket's cargo -- the 13,500-pound "DemoSat" and two canister-shaped nanosats -- were mounted atop the rocket in July.

A complete launch day simulation, called a wet dress rehearsal, is scheduled for later this month. The rocket's three liquid-fueled core boosters and upper stage will be loaded with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as the launch team follows a realistic countdown script.