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Weather Forces Postponement For ST5 Launch

The Pegasus XL rocket sits inside Orbital Sciences' Building 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base after being mated with the Space Technology 5 satellites.
by Staff Writers
Vandenberg AFB CA (SPX) Mar 13, 2006
Mission controllers have postponed for one day the launch of NASA's Pegasus rocket carrying the three Space Technology Mission 5 satellites. Hail and high winds at Vandenberg required ground technicians to take protective measures that will prevent the spacecraft and its carrier L-1011 aircraft from being ready by Tuesday's original launch time.

The new launch window will run from 8:57 a.m. to 10:19 a.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday, March 15, with a target drop time of 9:02 a.m.

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 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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Prep Begins For Next Ariane 5 Launch
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Mar 13, 2006
Following the Ariane 5 ECA's successful dual-payload launch on March 11, ground teams have begun initial preparations for Arianespace's next heavy-lift launch - currently targeted for mid-May, and intended to carry the Satmex 6 and THAICOM 5 satellites.

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