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HESSI launch postponed

A drawing of HESSI
A drawing of HESSI  


(CNN) -- NASA has postponed the launch of a satellite designed to produce the first high-fidelity color movies of solar flares.

The High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager spacecraft, or HESSI, was scheduled for launch on June 7 aboard a Pegasus rocket. But a Pegasus rocket was used in the failed test flight of an experimental plane on Saturday at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Engineers are working to determine if there is any connection between the failure of the X43-A mission and the Pegasus vehicle that will be used to launch HESSI from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA now says HESSI will launch on or about June 12.

The spacecraft has one instrument -- an imaging spectrometer that can create high quality movies of solar flares in X-rays and gamma rays. Those images should help scientists better understand the sun.

HESSI originally was scheduled to be launched last July, but the date was pushed back after the spacecraft was damaged during a vibration test on March 21, 2000.








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