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Pin glitch scrubs Pegasus launch
Posted: Wed, Mar 15, 2006, 1:39 PM ET (1839 GMT)
Space Technology 5 illustration (NASA) The launch of three microsatellites on a Pegasus rocket was scrubbed Wednesday morning because of a problem with a pin on the launcher. The Pegasus XL was scheduled to launch from its carrier aircraft off the coast from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California and place the three Space Technology 5 (ST5) satellites into orbit. Less than one minute before the rocket was to be released from its aircraft, however, a pin used to secure a control flap on the rocket's first stage failed to retract as commanded. The L-1011 aircraft performed maneuvers in an effort to get the pin to retract, but controllers were forced to scrub the launch when the batteries that power the fin — designed to last only 90 seconds — were exhausted. Replacing the fins will delay the launch at least 48 hours; NASA has not announced a new launch date pending a resolution to the pin problem and the availability of the launch range. The three ST5 microsatellites are designed to test a number of spacecraft technologies while performing measurements of the Earth's magnetosphere.
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