Pathfinder Launch (Reuter's)

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

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

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

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.