Status Report

Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 19 May 2011

By SpaceRef Editor
May 19, 2011
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Spacecraft: Aquarius
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7320
Launch Site:  Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Pad:  Space Launch Complex 2
Launch Date:  June 9, 2011
Launch Window: 7:20:13 – 7:25:13 a.m. PDT
Altitude/Inclination: 408.2 statute miles/98 degrees

At Vandenberg Air Force Base, the Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft was installed into its transportation canister and placed on the spacecraft transporter. Friday, it is scheduled to be moved from the payload processing facility on south Vandenberg to NASA’s Space Launch Complex 2 on north Vandenberg and hoisted atop the Delta II rocket.

The Aquarius/SAC-D mission is a collaboration between NASA and Argentina’s space agency with participation by Brazil, Canada, France and Italy. NASA’s Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is managing the launch. United Launch Alliance of Denver, Colo., is NASA’s launch service provider of the Delta II 7320.

Spacecraft: Juno
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 551
Launch Site:  Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad:  Space Launch Complex 41
Launch Date:  Aug. 5, 2011
Launch Time: 11:40 a.m. EDT

Solar arrays No. 2 and No. 3 were installed onto the spacecraft May 13. Array No. 3 was deployed on May 16 and a solar array illumination test was conducted May 17. Later this week, solar array No. 1 will be attached, the magnetometer will be installed, a solar array illumination test will be conducted and a magnetometer boom deployment test is planned.

The Atlas V rocket is scheduled to arrive at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station next week.

The solar-powered Juno spacecraft will orbit Jupiter’s poles 33 times to find out more about the gas giant’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

Spacecraft: GRAIL (Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7920 Heavy
Launch Site:  Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad:  Space Launch Complex 17B
Launch Date:  Sept. 8, 2011
Launch Time: 8:37:06 a.m. and 9:16:12 a.m. EDT

The GRAIL spacecraft is scheduled to arrive by Air Force C-17 cargo plane on May 20. It is being shipped from the Lockheed Martin plant in Denver, Colo.

At NASA’s Space Launch Complex 17B, with the Delta II fully stacked on the launch pad, prelaunch testing of the rocket begins on May 20.

GRAIL’s primary science objectives will be to determine the structure of the lunar interior, from crust to core, and to advance understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon.

Spacecraft: Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-541
Launch Site:  Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad:  Space Launch Complex 41
Launch Date:  Nov. 25, 2011
Launch Time: 10:21 a.m. EST

The cruise stage, back shell and heat shield for the Mars Science Laboratory payload arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility aboard an Air Force C-17 cargo plane on the evening of May 12. These are the first flight elements to arrive for the Mars Science Laboratory mission. During the overnight hours of May 13, they were taken to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF) located in the KSC Industrial Area. They have now been removed from their shipping containers and placed on test stands so that processing activities can begin. The Curiosity rover will arrive late next month.

The rover’s 10 science instruments will search for signs of life, including methane, and help determine if the gas is from a biological or geological source. The unique rover will use a laser to look inside rocks and release the gasses so that its spectrometer can analyze and send the data back to Earth.

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SpaceRef staff editor.