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DELTA TO LAUNCH NEAR EARTH ASTEROID RENDEZVOUS SATELLITE

 HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- NASA has exercised a launch vehicle option under the Medium Expendable Launch Vehicle services contract for a McDonnell Douglas Delta II rocket to carry the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft into earth escape trajectory in February 1996.
 The NEAR spacecraft, which will study the asteroid Eros, will be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on a 7925-8 version of the Delta rocket. The Delta II 7925-8 is a three- stage rocket with an eight-foot fairing.
 The Delta vehicle will place NEAR in an orbit that will take the spacecraft through an asteroid belt and then bring it back to the Earth for a gravity boost so that it will arrive at Eros in 1998.
 NEAR is the first mission under NASA's Discovery program of smaller, simpler and less expensive spacecraft.
 "The NEAR spacecraft represents a new, economical approach to space discovery and we're pleased NASA selected the Delta II as part of this cost-effective project," said Rich Murphy, director, NASA and Commercial Programs for McDonnell Douglas.
 McDonnell Douglas is currently under contract to launch five NASA spacecraft: Wind, Polar, Radarsat, X-ray Timing Explorer (XTE) and NEAR.
 Since 1986, Delta has launched 46 payloads with a 100 percent success rate.
 -0- 1/10/94
 /CONTACT: Anne C. McCauley of McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, 714-896-6211/
 (MD)


CO: McDonnell Douglas Aerospace ST: California IN: ARO SU:

JL -- LA023 -- 0574 01/10/94 12:21 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 10, 1994
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