MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Jane Platt (805) 605-3013 (at Vandenberg A.F.B.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 2, 1999
WIDE-FIELD INFRARED EXPLORER LAUNCH POSTPONED
The launch of NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE)
astronomy spacecraft from a Pegasus-XL launch vehicle at
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., was postponed last night and
will be rescheduled for no earlier than Wednesday, March 3.
The launch was aborted 45 seconds before the scheduled
liftoff time of 6:56 p.m. PST last night when a pin that secures
the rudder on the launch vehicle did not retract, preventing
steering of the rudder.
The Pegasus-XL, built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, is a
three-stage, solid-propellant booster system carried aloft by a
Lockheed L-1011 jet aircraft. The system, carrying the 561-pound
(254-kg) spacecraft, will be released when the aircraft reaches
an altitude of about 40,000 feet (12,200 meters).
An assessment of the launch vehicle will be finished by this
afternoon, and the next launch attempt will be established at
For more information about the Wide-Field Infrared Explorer,
check the web page at the following URL: http://www.ipac.caltech.edu/wire.
For the latest information on the launch, call the status
line at the NASA/Kennedy Space Center Resident Office at
Vandenberg Air Force Base, (805) 734-2693.