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DART Spacecraft to Launch Oct 26 With First Spacecraft-based Ecliptic RocketCam™ On Board

2004 Oct 25

The first spacecraft with an Ecliptic RocketCam™ video system on board is scheduled for launch around 11:15 a.m. PDT by a Pegasus XL winged rocket on October 26 (Tuesday) off the California coast near Vandenberg Air Force Base. Weather conditions for this planned launch slot were projected to be iffy as of Monday morning, Oct 25.

The Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft arrived at Vandenberg for final systems testing and launch vehicle integration on July 14. The spacecraft and its launcher were both built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, headquartered in Virginia.

The prelaunch press conference, to be carried live on NASA TV, is scheduled to occur on Oct 25 (Monday) at 11 a.m. PDT. Live coverage of the launch on NASA TV will begin at 10 a.m. PDT and continue through spacecraft separation from the Pegasus XL vehicle. Real-time online coverage of the launch, rendezvous and proximity operations events by Justin Ray is available at Spaceflight Now.

More on this critical DART mission milestone may be found in news releases posted by Orbital and NASA.

Details about DART's RocketCam system were summarized in an Ecliptic news release posted in 2002 October. The DART mission will be the first of many upcoming spacecraft projects to employ RocketCam systems for improving situational awareness in Earth orbit, riding on the experience of thirty successful rocket launches and over a dozen other aerospace projects that have used RocketCam since 1997.

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