Subject: Pathfinder Launch (Reuter's)
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 18:00:36 -0500 (EST)
Hi all, Just in case some of your missed the specifics, here is Reuter's version of the delay. Tuesday December 3 5:11 PM EST Mars Rover Launch Rescheduled for Wednesday CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuter) - The blastoff of NASA's first Mars rover was rescheduled for Wednesday after a ground computer, which held up the launch Tuesday, was fixed, NASA officials said. The space agency said it would make its third attempt to launch the Mars Pathfinder at 1:58 a.m. EST Wednesday. Forecasters said there was a 90 percent chance of acceptable weather. The liftoff was originally set for Monday morning but bad weather caused a 24-hour delay. Then, early Tuesday, a ground computer glitch halted the countdown with just one minute, 33 seconds to go. The McDonnell Douglas Corp. Delta 2 rocket had to blast off precisely on time to put the probe on course for Mars. "Because we have no significant launch window today, that means that we will scrub for today," NASA launch commentator George Diller said. The balky computer, which was monitoring the rocket's propulsion system from a control bunker, lost synchronization with a safety system, Diller said. NASA has daily launch opportunities until Dec. 31. If the probe is not off the ground by then it will be two years before the planets are suitably aligned again. The unmanned rocket was to carry the probe on the first leg of its 310-million-mile interplanetary trek to Mars. Mars Pathfinder will carry a six-wheeled rover called Sojourner that is the size of an office laser printer. Under remote control from Earth it will explore the landing site, beaming back pictures of the surface and sniffing out the composition of rocks.