Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 23 June 2011

By SpaceRef Editor
June 23, 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
Launch Time: 11:39 a.m. EDT

At the Astrotech payload processing facility near Kennedy Space Center, Juno’s flight software is being installed into the spacecraft’s primary computer.

At Launch Complex 41, the last of five solid rocket boosters was attached to the Atlas booster on June 21. The Centaur upper stage will be brought to the launch pad and stacked atop the Atlas stage on Friday.

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, the deployment test of the GRAIL solar arrays was conducted June 18.

At NASA’s Space Launch Complex 17B, the first stage propulsion and pneumatic system functional checks are under way. Electrical and hydraulic checkout of the rocket began Wednesday. 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

The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, arrived at 10:33 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility, along with the rocket-powered descent stage that will fly the rover during the final moments before landing on Mars. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., built the rover and descent stage. The Air Force C-17 flight began at March Air Reserve Base, Riverside, Calif., where the flight hardware had been trucked from JPL earlier in the day.

Other components of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, the aeroshell and cruise stage, arrived at Kennedy in May. The mission is on track for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket during the period from Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, and for landing the car-size rover on Mars in August 2012.

The Atlas V for the mission will arrive at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this summer. It will be 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.