NASA & Boeing launch joint probe into ‘incident’ during satellite pre-launch check

Adam BaderLast Update : Sunday 16 July 2017 - 7:13 PM
NASA & Boeing launch joint probe into ‘incident’ during satellite pre-launch check

NASA and Boeing have launched a joint investigation into an undisclosed ‘incident’ which they say occurred during the final round of pre-mission checks on a $408 million communications satellite.

The incident is said to have happened during final ‘close-out’ checks on the Boeing-built Tracking Data Relay Satellite mission (TDRS-M) at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, on July 14.

‘Close-out’ teams carry out the final hands-on preparations before every NASA launch.

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The setback involved the spacecraft’s Omni S-band antenna, according to a statement from the space agency. NASA said a mission team is currently “developing a plan to assess flight acceptance” ahead of its launch date next month.

TDRS-M is scheduled to launch August 3 atop the Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The device has an in-orbit lifespan of 15 years, according to Boeing.

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The satellite is designed to join NASA’s constellation of communications satellites which facilitate contact between orbiting spacecraft, like the International Space Station and other scientific observatories.

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Adam Bader