CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. space agency says the Delta II 7920-H rocket that will launch the Gamma-ray Large Area Telescope satellite is in the process of being assembled.
The rocket is now on Launch Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, where solid rocket boosters were recently attached to the rocket.
A series of nine strap-on solid rocket motors will next be mated with the rocket to help power the first stage. Officials said the boosters are larger than those used on the standard Delta configuration.
"The Delta II is one of our most reliable launch vehicles," said Rick Harnden, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's GLAST program scientist. "However, we'll be breathing a lot easier once GLAST has been lofted successfully into orbit."
GLAST is scheduled for launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Station May 16 between 11:45 a.m. and 1:40 p.m.
The powerful new space observatory will, among other things, search the universe for signs of new laws of physics.
NASA's GLAST mission is an astrophysics and particle physics partnership, developed in collaboration academic institutions and partners in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the United States.