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Emily LakdawallaAugust 9, 2005

A launch delay for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The Space Shuttle couldn't land at Kennedy Space Center today because of concerns about weather, so I have been expecting a launch delay to be announced for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Indeed, a 24-hour delay has just been announced; the new launch date is Thursday, August 11 from 7:50 to 9:35 a.m. EDT (11:50 to 13:35 UTC).

But the launch delay is NOT because of the weather, it's because of a technical issue. Here's what the NASA release says:

The launch was postponed due to a failure of a Redundant Rate Gyro Unit (RRGU) at the manufacturer. This unit is similar to two RRGU's that are part of the flight control system on the Atlas V launch vehicle at Launch Complex 41 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

The engineering team is evaluating whether the failure that occurred in the testing at the manufacturer has any affect [sic] on other RRGU's in the MRO's Atlas V.I'll be watching for further developments, and I'm sure our Mars maven A. J. S. Rayl will be too.

Read more: mission status, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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