KSC Release No. 85 – 00

For the first time, NASA’s Expendable Launch Vehicle Services at
Kennedy Space Center will remotely manage a rocket launch.

The High-Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2) – a satellite
that will detect gamma-ray bursts – is set to launch Oct. 6 on a Pegasus
vehicle from the Kwajalein Missile Range in the South Pacific.

Because the Kwajalein site does not have a monitoring setup
necessary for the level of management required by NASA, a system for
remotely monitoring the launch was created at KSC. Three separate
communication channels have been setup for voice and data transmission as a
fail-safe measure.

“This is a great opportunity to demonstrate that we can
launch anytime, anywhere, which is one of the program’s strategic goals,”
said Chuck Dovale, NASA ELV launch manager.

Remote monitoring has been used previously by the KSC team
on certain secondary aspects of managing a launch from Vandenberg Air Force
Base. That monitoring helped prove to program leaders that remote launch
monitoring was a viable alternative in certain situations, Dovale said.

The Kwajalein site was chosen for the launch because of its
required inclination, less than 5 degrees with of goal of less than 2

KSC assumed lead center responsibility for NASA’s
acquisition and management of ELV Launch Services at the start of fiscal
year 1999. Separate ELV programs managed by Goddard Space Flight Center and
Glenn Research Center were integrated and based at KSC.

On orbit, HETE-2 will locate mysterious gamma-ray bursts and
other explosive cosmic phenomena. The bursts represent the great releases of
energy and scientists do not know what causes them.

HETE-2 will detect up to a thousand bursts a year and, for about 30
of these bursts, provide very detailed information about their location and
spectra, or light characteristics

The HETE-2 collaboration includes NASA, the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and Los Alamos National Laboratory; France’s Centre
National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and Centre d’Etude Spatiale des
Rayonnements (CESR); and Japan’s Institute of Physical and Chemical Research