Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 17 June 2011

By SpaceRef Editor
June 18, 2011
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Spacecraft: Aquarius
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7320 (Delta 354)
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 2
Altitude/Inclination: 408.2 statute miles/98 degrees

At Vandenberg Air Force Base, the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with Aquarius/SAC-B was successfully launched from NASA’s Space Launch Complex 2 on June 10 at 7:20:13.572 a.m. PDT. The first telemetry data showed the observatory to be in excellent health. The initial checkout phase now is under way and requires about 25 days.

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 managed 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 (AV-029)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41
Launch Date: Aug. 5, 2011
Launch Time: 11:39 a.m. EDT

At the Astrotech payload processing facility near Kennedy Space Center, Juno’s Advanced Stellar Compass is undergoing testing. The spacecraft’s main engine assembly and rocket engine modules successfully completed a functional test earlier this week. Thermal blanket closeouts continue.

At Launch Complex 41, the Atlas V first stage booster was hoisted into position on the launcher in the Vertical Integration Facility on June 13. The first of five solid rocket boosters was attached on June 15. The Centaur upper stage will be brought to the launch pad the last week of June.

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. EDT and 9:16:12 a.m. EDT

At Astrotech, GRAIL spacecraft functional testing is complete. The flight batteries were installed June 14. The spacecraft’s solar arrays were attached June 15. Installation of thermal blankets continues.

At NASA’s Space Launch Complex 17B, the first stage propulsion and pneumatic system functional checks began on June 15. Electrical and hydraulic checkout of the rocket will begin June 22. This will be followed on June 27 by functional checks of the second stage propulsion and pneumatic systems.

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 (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 the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at KSC, the spacecraft aeroshell was spin-tested on June 10. Installation of the solar arrays onto the cruise stage is planned for completion Friday. The Atlas V for the Mars Science Laboratory will arrive this summer. The Atlas V-541 configuration being used for Mars Science Laboratory 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.

Previous status reports are available at:

SpaceRef staff editor.