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Athena launch delayed until weekend
Posted: Fri, Sep 28, 2001, 12:45 AM ET (0445 GMT)
Kodiak Launch Complex (Alaska Aerospace) The launch of an Athena rocket from Alaska has been pushed back until at least Saturday and may be delayed further depending on terrestrial and space weather conditions. A powerful solar flare Monday elevated the number of protons beyond the Earth's atmosphere to levels far higher than what the electronics on the Athena 1 booster are capable of handling. The proton flux peaked Tuesday and is declining, but may still remain too high through at least Friday and possibly through Saturday. The proton flux should subside by Sunday at the latest, but by then weather conditions at the Kodiak Launch Center in Alaska are expected to worsen. The launch has already been delayed more than a week because of weather, technical problems with a tracking radar, and transportation delays. The Athena 1 carries four spacecraft: the Starshine 3 satellite for NASA and three small spacecraft sponsored by the Defense Department.
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