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WALLOPS ISLAND LAUNCH POSTPONED

Monday's planned rocket launch at Wallops Island was postponed because engineers found a computer problem, according to officials at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS). The launch will be pushed back to Wednesday and may even be postponed as long as two weeks.

Engineers for the U.S. Airforce, which contracted with MARS to launch a TacSat2 satellite, found that computer software was pointing solar panels on the satellite in the wrong direction. The panels are used to charge batteries.

Officials are expected to hold an updating briefing at 2 p.m. Monday.

The launch will be the first for MARS, a collaborative project of ODU, businesses and the states of Virginia and Maryland. It is the first of four scheduled over the next 12 months from the facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Operated by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and directed by ODU Assistant Professor of Engineering Management Billie Reed, MARS was established in 1995 by Old Dominion and Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology. The facility features a $3.6 million, 113-foot-tall rocket launch pad and promises low-cost, safe and reliable space launch services for commercial, government and scientific/academic users.

This article was posted on: December 11, 2006

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