Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 23 June 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
June 23, 2005
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MISSION: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Lockheed Martin Atlas V 401
LAUNCH PAD: Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Fla.
LAUNCH DATE: August 10, 2005
LAUNCH WINDOW: 7:53:58 to 9:53:58 a.m. (EDT)

Power-on testing continues to go well. The high-gain antenna will be installed on Friday. Also, the solar arrays are being cleaned and inspected in preparation for installation, currently planned for June 28.

On June 17, the Centaur upper stage for the Atlas V was transported from the hangar at the Atlas Space Operations Center to the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at SLC-41. It was hoisted atop the Atlas stage to begin checkout.

The Launch Vehicle Readiness Test is under way. A countdown wet dress rehearsal with the launch vehicle fully fueled is scheduled in early July.

The MRO will be transported from the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to the VIF in late July. It will join the Atlas V for the final phase of launch preparations. The spacecraft is then scheduled to undergo a functional test, and a final week of integrated testing and closeouts.

The MRO mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, 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.

LAUNCH VEHICLE: Boeing Delta 7420 DPAF
LAUNCH PAD: Space Launch Complex 2, Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), Calif.
LAUNCH DATE: No Earlier Than August 22, 2005

The launch of CALIPSO/CloudSat will occur aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket from NASA’s Space Launch Complex 2 at VAFB in California.

The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) spacecraft completed comprehensive checkout on June 17 as scheduled. Atmospheric testing of the spacecraft’s laser was completed June 15. Meanwhile, CloudSat is undergoing a battery trickle charge which will be followed by about one week of battery reconditioning. Technicians are also performing some additional spacecraft testing.

On June 14, the stacking of the Boeing Delta II at SLC2 began with the hoisting of the first stage into the launcher. Attachment of the four strap-on solid rocket boosters is under way this week.

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 enable an even greater understanding of our climate system from the broad array of sensors on these other spacecraft.

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 (CNES), Ball Aerospace, Hampton University in Virginia 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.