Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 15 August 2011

By SpaceRef Editor
August 15, 2011
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Spacecraft: Juno
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-551 (AV-029)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41
Launch Date: Aug. 5, 2011

The Juno spacecraft was launched successfully aboard the Atlas V rocket on Aug. 5, 2011, at 12:25:00.146 p.m. EDT. The spacecraft is in good shape and planned post-launch system verifications and state-of-health checks are under way.

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 Times: 8:37:06 a.m. and 9:16:12 a.m. EDT

At Astrotech, the GRAIL A and GRAIL B were separately weighed on Aug. 9, then installed together on the payload adapter ring Aug. 10. GRAIL was placed inside the payload transportation canister on Aug. 12. GRAIL is now scheduled to be moved to launch Pad 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station no earlier than Aug. 18. This will allow a spacecraft review currently under way to be completed. There is ample time in the schedule to complete the necessary tasks at the pad before launch on Sept. 8. Once at the pad, GRAIL will be hoisted atop the Delta II rocket.

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

Spacecraft: NPP (NPOESS Preparatory Project)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7920
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 2
Launch Date: Oct. 25, 2011
Launch Window: 2:48:01 a.m. – 2:57:11 a.m. PDT (9 min. 10 sec.)

At Space Launch Complex 2, the Delta II first and second stages and the nine solid rocket boosters are fully integrated at the pad. Testing is under way.

The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at Vandenberg on Aug. 30.

NPP represents a critical first step in building the next-generation of Earth-observing satellites. NPP will carry the first of the new sensors developed for this satellite fleet, now known as the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) to be launched in 2016. NPP is the bridge between NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites and the forthcoming series of JPSS satellites. The mission will test key technologies and instruments for the JPSS missions.

Spacecraft: Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-541 (AV-028)
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

At Kennedy Space Center’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility, functional testing of Curiosity is complete. Work is under way to begin stowing the rover’s components including the remote sensing mast, robotic arm, wheels and mobility system.

The Atlas V rocket for the mission is at the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Atlas and Centaur stages are undergoing initial checkout before going to the Vertical Integration Facility at Launch Complex 41 on or about Sept. 7. This is an Atlas V-541 configuration that will have four solid rocket boosters attached.

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.