Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 16 February 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
February 16, 2009
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Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Date: Feb. 24, 2009
Launch Time: 1:51:30 a.m. PST

The launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory has been rescheduled by one day to Feb. 24. The spacecraft is being mated to the Taurus third stage Monday. However, because the associated electrical closeouts in preparation for the mate took longer than anticipated, the launch was postponed 24 hours due to no remaining schedule margin. The targeted liftoff time is 1:51:30 a.m. PST.

The integrated stack consisting of OCO and Taurus stages 1, 2 and 3 will be hoisted atop Stage 0 on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Also on Wednesday, a launch countdown dress rehearsal will be performed.

OCO was encapsulated into the fairing halves on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9, then transported to the launch pad on Feb. 11.

Mission: Kepler
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7925
Launch Pad: 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Date: March 5, 2009
Launch Time: 10:48:43 p.m. EDT

Spacecraft fueling operations were completed last week. Technicians completed final blanket work and spacecraft close-outs Feb. 12. Kepler is scheduled to be attached to the upper stage booster Monday. Installing the integrated stack into the transportation canister and placing it on the payload transporter are scheduled for the following day. Kepler will be moved to Launch Complex 17 on Feb. 19 to be mated to the Delta II rocket on Pad 17-B.

Mission: Lunar Recommaissance Orbiter (LRO/LCROSS)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V
Launch Pad: Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Date: Targeted for April 24, 2009
Launch Time: TBD

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, spacecraft was loaded on a truck Wednesday at Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to begin its two-day journey to the Astrotech Facility in Titusville, Florida. The spacecraft’s electronic ground support equipment, comprised of the ground data system, and electrical and mechanical ground support equipment, arrived at Astrotech on Tuesday. Workers uncrated and cleaned the equipment to prepare for LRO’s arrival.

The LRO arrived at Astrotech Friday morning. Technicians uncrated the spacecraft on Saturday, then attach and deploy the solar arrays and performed a spacecraft activation test Sunday.

The Centaur stage is scheduled to arrive at Cap Canaveral Air Force Station on Feb. 20 at approximately 4:30 p.m. Offloading will begin on Feb. 21.

There is no formal request to NASA from United Launch Alliance, or ULA, to change the launch date of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter from April 24. Informal discussions are ongoing between NASA, ULA and the Air Force to understand the needs of ULA’s launch clients, including the Air Force and its Wideband Global Satcom spacecraft. LRO and LCROSS continue to work towards the earliest possible launch date until a formal determination can be made otherwise.

Previous status reports are available at:

SpaceRef staff editor.