More Delays for NASA's Next Space Telescope

More Delays for NASA's Next Space Telescope
The first half of the payload fairing is moved into place around NASA's Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope within the mobile service tower on Launch Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 27, 2008. (Image credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann)

NASA?s latest space telescope has faced a series of delays that pushedback its June 7 launch date to June 11 at the earliest.

TheGamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST)is now being readied for launch on a Delta 2 rocket sometime between 11:45 a.m.and 1:40 p.m. EDT (1545-1740 GMT) on June 11 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station inFlorida.

Five separate launch delays have kept GLASTEarth-bound. The original May 16 launch date for the roughly 9,486-pound(4,303-kg) space telescope ended up beingpostponed because of equipment damage during installation of the Delta 2?ssecond stage. The launch team cancelled a June 3launch date after a Flight Readiness Review, and similarly delayed launchplans for June 5, June 7, and June 8.

Themost recent postponement comes because additional time was needed to replacethe Delta 2 rocket?s flight termination system battery, NASA said in a pressstatement. The problem first appeared on Wednesday, June 8.

Scientistsplan to use the $690 million GLAST to uncover morecosmic sources of high-energy gamma rays than ever before, including blackholes, pulsars, and dark matter. The space telescope?s findings may expandknowledge of the current and past universe, as well as possibly challenge ourcurrent understanding of physics.

  • Video: GLAST Cast — Part 1
  • Video: GLAST Cast — Part 2
  • The Strangest Things in Space

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