Friday, January 30, 2009

ARES 1X Stacking Toward July Test Launch

At the Kennedy Space Center today, stacking of the ARES 1X test vehicle continues in high bay 4 of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

In this NASA/KSC image taken this morning, workers are moving quickly to prepare for the anticipated test flight this July - or August based on the need to use Pad 39B in support of the Hubble flight.

Russia's Tsyklon 3 launches Science Satellite

The Russian Space Agency successfully launched a solar science satellite today aboard the Tsyklon 3 rocket - their first such major science payload launch in four years.

The RSA's launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in north Russia occurred at 8:30 am EST or 13:30 GMT today. Forty-four minutes later, the Russian-built science payload left the Tsyklon 3 upper stage.

Known as the Coronas Photon, the satellite's three year mission will study the effects of solar activity around the earth's atmosphere from it's orbital outpost about 310 miles up, and inclined 82.5 degrees to the equator.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Japan Successfully Launches Ozone Satellite

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency today successfully launched an H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center - located on an island off of southern Japan.

The H-IIA carried a climate payload which Japan will use for measuring the earth's ozone layer. Known as the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT), the payload lifted-off at 12:54 pm local Japan time today (8:54 pm EST on Thursday evening) aboard the 174-foot tall H-IIA F15. This was the rocket's the 15th flight.

Sixteen minutes and one second later, the payload separated from the rocket's upper stage while over 8 degrees N, 132 degrees E. The upper stage then continued on and deployed seven separate smaller satellites as it flew a trajectory south and west over western Australia and south over the coast of Antarctica.

Inclement weather forced a two-hour launch delay. The rocket flew through clouds as it leapt from it's seaside launch pad.

 The H-IIA is a forerunner to the upcoming H-IIB rocket which will support important Japanese missions, including cargo transport to the international space station and to the Moon. A test flight of the new H-IIB is slated for this year.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A busy day aboard Discovery

The seven member crew of the 125th space shuttle flight spent this morning aboard Discovery running through a mock countdown as they finish their last day of practice here at the Kennedy Space Center.

Earlier they donned their launch and entry suits and took the astro van to launch complex 39-A - just as they will do in three weeks when they prepare for launch. Inside KSC's launch control room, they went through a countdown which concluded at just before 11 am, when the computer called for a cut-off at the T-:04 second point.

It was a very cold morning with temperatures in the mid-30's during this mock count. So much so that had this been an actual launch day, a few here at the KSC press site stated they would have scrubbed for the day due to launch rules pertaining to cold temperatures. [Freezing weather has a negative effect on certain rubber joints and seals which support the casings on the solid rocket boosters.]

Also this afternoon, the payload bay doors of Discovery were slowly closed for flight. The above image was recorded by NASA/ KSC moments prior to door closing, and show the Starboard Truss solar array segment which will generate more power for the international space station. Beginning in late-May, the station is scheduled to begin supporting long duration crews of six instead of the current three person rotation.

A flight readiness review by the entire NASA centers will occur on February 3. Currently launch of Discovery is scheduled for February 12th at 7:32 am EST.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Crew spends Inaugural Day conducting Pad Training

While a new presidential administration took over at noon today, the crew of the next space shuttle flight were to busy to stop and watch as they conducted launch pad emergency escape training.

Even under cold and windy conditions, the seven member crew of Discovery went to the 195-foot level of the launch pad 39-A and learned about the escape baskets which slide down a cable from the pad to the ground; the white room which is the room at the end of the orbiter access arm which connects to the crew hatch where the crew will don their helmets and ingress Discovery; and took time out for a few pictures and more.

Tomorrow, the crew will dress for a mock launch countdown and board Discovery. Later, they will head back to south Houston, Texas and the Johnson Space Center for the final three weeks of training prior to launch.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Discovery Crew at KSC; Pad Training Starts

The flight crew of Discovery - the next space shuttle flight known as STS-119 - arrived an hour early this morning as their jets touched down here at the Kennedy Space Center for three days of launch pad familiarization and training.

The seven person crew arrived at KSC's shuttle Landing Facility at 10:30 am EST, and in a short time will head to an area near Discovery's launch pad to begin emergency escape procedures - which include rides in the M-113 armored personnel carrier.

Discovery Crew heads to KSC Today

Discovery sits at Pad 39-A today at 7:50 am.

The seven member crew of the next space shuttle mission will arrive here at the Kennedy Space Center at just before noon today to spend three days of launch pad training prior to their February launch.

Led by mission commander Col. Lee Archambault, the crew of Discovery will spend Tuesday at the launch pad discussing and demonstrating emergency escape procedures. On Wednesday morning, they will don their orange partial pressure suits and climb aboard Discovery for a mock countdown.

The crew is expected to begin arriving in four T-38A trainer jets at KSC's shuttle landing facility at about 11:30 am EST.

The crew is rounded out by pilot Tony Antonelli and mission specialists Joe Acaba, Richard Arnold, John Phillips, Steve Swanson and Koichi Wakata (Japan).

Discovery will carry the last huge set of solar arrays to the international space station beginning with her launch at 7:32 am EST, on February 12th.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tonight's Delta IV-H Launch Image

United Launch Alliance has just released this image from tonight's launch. Liftoff occurred following a 2 hour, 14 minute delay from Cape Canaveral Air Station. Read our story below.

What a great image as you see the Delta's three liquid fueled boosters burning just two seconds following launch.

Delta IV-H Launches from the Cape Tonight

A United Space Alliance Delta IV-Heavy turned the night sky over Cape Canaveral into brief day light tonight as it pushed a military satellite into earth orbit.

The bright orange glaze over Cape Canaveral began as the Delta IV-H left her launch pad at 9:47 pm EST. Three liquid fueled boosters gave the 1.6 million pound gross vehicle the necessary lift.

Tonight's sucessful launch marked the 337th Delta rocket launch; and only the second operational Delta IV-H launch. The last occurred in November 2007.

The payload - a military satellite known as Orion - will work on station in geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the equator. It will become operational following a few weeks of on-orbit check outs. This orbital altitude will allow for the satellite to stay at one fixed point as it orbits as the earth spins.

Orion was built by the National Reconnaissance Office and this flight was designated NROL-26.

Beginning now, the rest of the launch phase is in a military news blackout. We will never know if the Orion payload reached its intended orbit, however the main launch phase was nominal.

T-05 minutes and counting...

COUNTDOWN RESUMES: T-:05:00 minutes and counting. Standing by for the launch of the second operational Delta IV-H flight.

Delta Launch Delay

LAUNCH DELAY: T-05:00 minutes and Holding. Delay computer related. Launch no earlier than 7:55 pm ET.

T-5 minutes and holding...

7:12 pm - T-5:00 minutes and holding. All still go for 7:33 pm EST.

Delta IV-H Remains poised for Launch Tonight

Cape Canaveral Air Station, FL: Clocks are at T-0:35 minutes and counting as we await the launch of the United Space Alliance Delta IV-Heavy unmanned rocket here at Complex 37.

Launch remains set for 7:33 pm EST tonight.

The vehicle is fueled and the Cape is not working any issues currently.

Delta IV-H: Tonight's Launch Info

beginning at 7:05 pm ET tonight

Tonight, a Delta IV-Heavy is set to lift-off on a military flight from Cape Canaveral. Here is the latest to follow the mission:

Liftoff: Tonight at 7:33 pm EST. Launch Window closes at 11:33 pm
Where: Cape Canaveral Air Station, Pad 37
Payload: NROL-26: Orion military satellite
Intended Orbit: GeoStationary [stay at a fixed point over a certain geographic area at the equator]
Flight: Second Delta IV-Heavy operational flight

This will make for a beautiful night, as the liquid fueled boosters light-up the clear night sky over Cape Canaveral. Stay tune for updates later today.

Trouble with a gaseous nitrogen (LN2) valve attached to ground equipment - not on the Delta - was the cause for two launch scrubs on Wednesday & Thursday.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Discovery Crew Training at KSC

The seven member crew for the next space shuttle flight are nearing the end of their training as their February 12th launch day inches closer and closer.

They have been in training for over a year to prepare for their flight to the international space station, traveling all over the United States and spending hundreds of hours in shuttle simulators and up in the air. 

On Thursday afternoon, Discovery's commander and pilot, Lee Archambault and Tony Antonelli, traveled to Edwards, AFB in California to practice landings in a Gulfstream II jet known as the Shuttle Trainer Aircraft. They will spend this morning making touch and go's on the two main runways in the California desert.

Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata round out the crew of seven. 

Discovery's crew will travel late Sunday here to the Kennedy Space Center for three days of launch day training known as TCDT. This Wednesday, the crew will act as if it was launch day as they awake, dress in their orange partial pressure suits and climb aboard Discovery for the practice countdown.

Launch of Discovery on mission STS-119 is currently targeted for February 12th at 7:32 am EST.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Delta IV-H to Launch Saturday Night

The multi-delayed launch of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV heavy launcher is now being targeted for Saturday evening at 7:33 pm EST - the opening of a four-hour launch window.

Technicians have been working since Wednesday to repair a faulty nitrogen ground support valve, and need another day to support the repair job. Also, winds tonight and Friday were expected to be higher than launch limits support.

The Delta IV will take into geostationary orbit the huge United States' Orion military satellite.

SCRUB: Delta IV-H no-go Tonight

Delta IV-H SCRUB: Winds associated with a cold front, and the preexisting nitrogen valve issue has delayed tonight's launch until possibly Saturday evening. Stay tune for a new formal launch date.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Discovery STS-119 Rollout Images

A few great images we just received from KSC /NASA PAO this afternoon. Discovery arrived at her seaside launch pad 39-A at 12:15 PM EST today.

Discovery Heading for Launch Pad now

6:45 am today: Discovery rollout to Pad 39-A

The space shuttle Discovery stack is on the move from the vehicle assembly building to her seaside launch pad as NASA inches closer for her launch.

Rollout began at 5:17 am EST this morning, and the space shuttle should arrive at launch pad 39-A late this morning at about 12 noon.

The 3.5-mile journey from the VAB to Pad 39-A normally takes just over six hours to make the journey. Traveling at 1 mph, NASA's mobile launcher platform makes a slow trek so that little vibration is made.

Launch of Discovery is planned for 7:30 am EST on February 12th.

This Monday, the seven-member flight crew of Discovery will be here at Kennedy Space Center for the standard preflight dress rehearsal for prelaunch and launch day activities. Known as TCDT, the crew will arrive on Monday at KSC; and on Wednesday don their launch suits and climb aboard Discovery for a practice countdown.

Discovery mission STS-119 will deliver the final huge set of solar arrays to the international space station.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Delta IV-H to Launch Wednesday at 7:45 pm

Weather conditions are expected to be great as Cape Canaveral Air Station prepares for Wednesday evening's launch of a Delta IV-Heavy, on a multi-delayed military mission.

Delta IV-H with her military satellite, Orion, are scheduled for launch at 7:45:01 pm EST tomorrow night from Launch Complex 37 here at Cape Canaveral. This will mark the opening of a nearly four hour launch window.

++ SpaceLaunchNews will support LIVE launch coverage beginning at 7:25 pm ET, running thru to about 20 minutes post-launch. Look for the Launch Coverage link at Top of this page. ++

Damage to foam insulation and weather concerns delayed tonight's launch attempt until Wednesday. The foam was repaired early this morning, but needs a full day to harden prior to launch.

Delta IV-H Launch Delayed to Wednesday

This evening's launch of a Delta IV-Heavy ELV from Cape Canaveral Air Station has been delayed until early Wednesday evening.

Tonight's planned launch was just scrubbed minutes ago by Cape officials due to possible weather concerns. Liftoff had been planned for 7:49 pm EST tonight.

> SLN will provide LIVE Launch Coverage of tomorrow night's launch beginning 20 minutes prior to T-0. Stay tune.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Delta IV-H nears Tuesday Cape Launch

The launch of a Delta IV-H unmanned rocket from Cape Canaveral is firmly set for this Tuesday night on a classified department of defense flight.

Known as the Orion National Reconnaissance Office satellite 26, the payload is slated to lift-off between 7:01 pm and 11:59 pm EST, on January 13th. The DoD is keeping the exact launch time secret until early Tuesday morning for security reasons. However, a liftoff late in the 7 pm hour is most likely. 

Weather wise, winds near the 22 mph limit could delay the launch time. Rain or cloud levels are not expected to be an issue.

The first launch off the earth in 2009, the Delta IV-Heavy launcher will rise from Cape Canaveral Air Station Complex 37-B on a high inclination orbit. The 232-foot tall Delta will place Orion in geostationary orbit. This satellite will replace an older, not as tech savvy satellite currently on station.

We are working to provide live launch video of the mission. Stay tune.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Discovery attached to her Tank-Boosters Today

Here at the Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building, orbiter Discovery was mated to her external tank & boosters today to form the mission STS-119 shuttle stack.

Slated for rollout to launch pad 39-A early Wednesday morning, Discovery will spend the next few days running through attachment and wiring checks prior to rollout.

Discovery and her crew of seven will launch on February 12th to the international space station to attach the last solar array section, known as the starboard 6 truss. This will help support the increased permanent crew size this spring as station crews increase from three to six.

Of note: The STS-119 external tank and solid rocket boosters were to be used for the Hubble repair flight last Fall. However, when the flight was delayed, Atlantis was rolled back to the VAB and removed so that the set can used for Discovery.
copyright 1998 - 2010 Charles Atkeison, All rights reserved.