June 18, 1999

Chandra X-ray Observatory Status Report

Dave Drachlis, Media Relations Office, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL (Phone: 256/544-6538)

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is being installed in its transportation canister today, for transfer from the Vertical Processing Facility to the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., early next week.

Originally scheduled to be transferred to the pad Saturday, June 19, the observatory now will be moved early Tuesday morning, June 22.

The observatory will remain in the Vertical Processing Facility through this weekend to allow crews to replace a defective bearing in one of the rollers on the Payload Ground Handling Mechanism at the launch pad. The device will be used to remove the payload from the canister and place it in the Space Shuttle Columbia's payload bay.

Once the mechanism has been repaired, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is scheduled to be installed in the Shuttle's payload bay June 25.

The delay in moving Chandra to the launch pad is not expected to affect the scheduled launch date of no earlier than July 20.

Dave Drachlis, MSFC Media Relations Office