The MER-B launch is still scheduled for this evening

From: Michael McCants (mmccants@jump.net)
Date: Mon Jul 07 2003 - 12:20:54 EDT

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    The Space Flight Now MER-B status page:
    
    http://spaceflightnow.com/mars/merb/status.html
    
    says that the first opportunity to launch MER-B is at 10:35PM EDT
    (02:25 UT) this evening and the second opportunity is at 11:18PM EDT
    (03:18 UT).
    
    If the first opportunity is taken, the Delta depletion burn will
    take place at 04:15 UT.  For the second opportunity, the burn will
    take place at 04:58.  The burn should last about 45 seconds.
    
    In both cases, the Delta rocket will be inside the Earth's shadow.
    
    For the first opportunity, shadow entry begins about 04:13 and ends
    about 04:22.  For the second opportunity, shadow entry begins about
    04:54 and ends about 05:03.
    
    Although a request for the object "MER" does produce the desired
    four choices on the Horizons system, the attempted use of any of
    those choices produces an "unexpected output" error at the present
    time (9:20AM PDT).  I expect that this will be fixed soon.
    
    Note that the Horizons system will produce RA/Dec Alt/Az predictions
    for the time that the Delta second stage is inside the earth's shadow.
    
    The MER-B spacecraft and its third stage will not be in the Earth's shadow.
    
    Mike McCants
    
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