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Pad mishap delays Delta launch
Posted: Wed, Oct 30, 2002, 11:48 PM ET (0448 GMT)
Delta 2 launch file photo (Boeing) An accident at the launch pad last week has indefinitely delayed the launch of a GPS satellite on a Delta 2 booster. According to published reports, a crane operators accidentally hoisted the booster's upper stage and GPS satellite after they had already been connected to the lower stages of the booster. The incident may have caused damage to both the Delta 2's second stage as well as the upper stage and satellite. The incident is expected to delay the launch, scheduled for November 7, at least a month. The delay could also have an affect on the planned January launch of NASA's SIRTF infrared observatory mission, which is scheduled to use a Delta 2 on the same pad at Cape Canaveral. A neighboring pad is vacant, but cannot accommodate the larger solid-propellant strap-on boosters that SIRTF's Delta 2 will require. The GPS satellite's booster may be destacked and moved to the other pad to permit SIRTF to launch on schedule.
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