Antares launch update: No Earlier Than January 8


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From Orbital: January 3, 2014

Orbital, in consultation with NASA, has decided to reschedule the Antares CRS Orb-1 Space Station Resupply Mission launch for no earlier than Wednesday, January 8, 2014.  The new target date was set due to the extreme cold temperatures that are forecasted for early next week, coupled with likely precipitation events predicted for Sunday night and Monday morning.  While we are preserving the option to launch on January 8, it is more likely that the launch will take place on Thursday, January 9 because of a much improved forecast for later in the week.

The launch window on Wednesday is 1:32 - 1:37 pm EST (18:32 - 18:37 GMT).  If weather conditions on Wednesday do not prove favorable, the launch window for Thursday, January 9 is 1:10 - 1:15 pm EST (18:10 - 18:15 GMT).

Rollout of the rocket to the pad will occur as previously scheduled tomorrow night, January 4, due to the relatively favorable weather, and the fact that the cargo has already been loaded onto the Cygnus.  The team will execute on-pad preparations (mating the rocket to the pad, rotating the rocket to its vertical position, connecting umbilicals, etc.) immediately after rollout.

The Launch Readiness Review is currently scheduled to take place on Monday January 6.

From NASA:

The International Space Station Program and Orbital Sciences Corporation have decided to postpone the launch of the Antares rocket and its Cygnus cargo craft on the first Orbital commercial resupply mission to the space station to no earlier than Wednesday, Jan. 8 due to the forecast of cold temperatures for Tuesday, Jan. 7 at the launch site at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The forecast for Wednesday also calls for cold temperatures, but the station program and Orbital plan to revisit the weather forecast at the beginning of the week. The main concern with the weather is the cold temperatures coupled with likely precipitation. Orbital says the Antares rocket has a lower limit temperature constraint of 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Orbital still plans to roll out its Antares rocket to Launch Pad 0A at Wallops on Saturday night because the weather is forecast to be favorable at that time.

The launch time for Wednesday, Jan. 8 is 12:32:33 p.m. Central time, 1:32:33 p.m. Eastern time. NASA TV coverage of launch will begin at 12 Noon CT, 1 p.m. ET.

A launch on Wednesday will result in a grapple of Cygnus by the Expedition 38 crew aboard the station on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 5:02 a.m. CT, 6:02 a.m. ET. NASA TV coverage will begin at 4 a.m. CT. Coverage of the installation of Cygnus on the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin at 6 a.m. CT, 7 a.m. ET.

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