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NASA ST5 Mission On Target For Tuesday Launch

The Pegasus XL rocket sits inside Orbital Sciences' Building 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., after being mated with the Space Technology 5 satellites.
by Staff Writers
Vandenberg AFB CA (SPX) Mar 12, 2006
NASA's Pegasus rocket loaded with the three Space Technology Mission 5 satellites has been transported from its hangar to the runway ramp area and is being mated to its Orbital Sciences L-1011 carrier aircraft in preparation for its scheduled launch on Tuesday. Technicians performed a combined systems test Saturday, including both the Pegasus and the L-1011.

NASA said the test will ensure all connections have been established and all systems are functioning properly. Workers also will perform a state-of-health check of the ST5 satellites, as well as a launch-readiness review.

The four-hour, 40-minute countdown to launch is to begin Tuesday at 4:20 a.m. Eastern Time. The release of the Pegasus rocket and its ST5 cargo from the L-1011 is planned for 9:02 a.m. ET.

The ST5 mission involves three small satellites, called micro-satellites, which will test and attempt to validate new technologies for future science missions. In a statement, NASA said the hope is ST5 "will demonstrate the benefits of a group of small low-cost spacecraft taking measurements at the same time in different locations."

The mission is scheduled to operate for at least 90 days. It is part of NASA's New Millennium Program, created to "identify, develop, build, and test innovative technologies and concepts for use in future missions."

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Fourth Time Is The Charm For Ariane 5
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Mar 11, 2006
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