Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 22 July 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
July 22, 2005
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MISSION: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Lockheed Martin Atlas V 401
LAUNCH PAD: Space Launch Complex 41
LAUNCH SITE: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida
LAUNCH DATE: August 10, 2005
LAUNCH WINDOW: 7:54 to 9:39 a.m. (EDT)

The Launch System Verification Test, spacecraft power-on testing and fueling is complete. A spin test to ensure balance of the spacecraft was conducted July 12.

The mate of the MRO spacecraft to the launch vehicle payload adapter should be completed this week. The MRO will be encapsulated into the Atlas fairing beginning on Monday. On July 28, the MRO will be transported from the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility to the Vertical Integration Facility at SLC-41, where it will join the Atlas V for the last phase of launch preparations. This is the first government-civil launch of an Atlas V. NASA technical efforts for certification of the Atlas V 401 launch vehicle are in the final stages.

A second countdown wet dress rehearsal with the launch vehicle fully fueled was conducted on July 19. During the July 7, T-4 minute hold wet dress rehearsal, the Centaur liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank experienced a very slow, but atypical pressure oscillation. While the pressure values were not breaking operational limits, the data showed a possibility they could be violated during the remaining countdown. The Centaur LH2 Self Regulating Vent Valve (SRV) was changed and is operating properly under ambient temperature conditions. The rehearsal was necessary to test this new valve under cryogenic conditions.

The MRO mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and will provide launch services for the mission with International Launch Services.

MISSION: Cloud-Aerosol Lidar & Infrared Pathfinder Satellite
Observation/CloudSat (CALIPSO/CloudSat)
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Boeing Delta 7420 DPAF
LAUNCH PAD: Space Launch Complex 2
LAUNCH SITE: Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California
LAUNCH DATE: September 29, 2005

The CALIPSO team is scheduled to return to VAFB July 26 to start spacecraft launch activities. The CloudSat team is scheduled to return to VAFB in early August to begin battery reconditioning.

CALIPSO and CloudSat are highly complementary and together will provide never-before-seen 3-D perspectives of how clouds and aerosols form, evolve, and affect weather and climate. CALIPSO and CloudSat will fly in formation with three other satellites in the A-train constellation to enhance understanding of our climate system.

As a part of the NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder program, CALIPSO is a collaborative effort with the French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, Ball Aerospace, Hampton University, Va., and France’s Institut Pierre Simon Laplace. Ball Aerospace is responsible for CALIPSO’s scientific instrument and communications suite, including the lidar and Wide Field Camera.

SpaceRef staff editor.