Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene spares launch facilities

Hurricane Irene caused no damage that will impact upcoming launches from Cape Canaveral or Wallops Island, Virginia.

The storm passed more than 200 miles of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last Friday. NASA's GRAIL moon-mapping mission remains on track to launch Sept. 8 on a Delta II Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 17B.

Irene had weakened to a Category 1 storm by the time it made a more direct pass of Wallops over the weekend.

Orbital Sciences Corp. reports some minor water seepage into a new hangar housing its Taurus II rocket stages, which will will be used for tests tied to the NASA program preparing for commercial deliveries of cargo to the International Space Station.

Crews today will begin unwrapping tarps from flight hardware and relocating ground support equipment that had been stowed inside the hangar.

A first test launch of the Taurus II is planned late this year. A first launch of the Cygnus cargo spacecraft is tentatively planned in late February.

IMAGE: File photo of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. Credit: NASA

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