Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 25 October 2011

By SpaceRef Editor
October 25, 2011
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Spacecraft: NPP (NPOESS Preparatory Project)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7920
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 2
Launch Date: Oct. 28, 2011
Launch Window: 2:48:01 a.m. – 2:57:11 a.m. PDT (9 min., 10 sec.)
Orbital Altitude: 512 miles

At Vandenberg Air Force Base, the Flight Readiness Review was successfully completed on Oct. 21. A launch countdown dress rehearsal was conducted on Oct. 24. At NASA’s Space Launch Complex 2, the Delta II rocket second stage was loaded with its complement of storable hypergolic propellants on Oct. 24-25.

In preparation for the terminal countdown, the RP-1 fuel will be loaded aboard the first stage late in the afternoon on Oct. 27 and will be followed immediately afterward by pulling the mobile service tower away from the rocket. Loading liquid oxygen into the vehicle’s first stage is planned to begin shortly after 1 a.m. leading to the targeted 2:48:01 a.m. PDT launch.

NPP represents a critical first step in building the next-generation of Earth-observing satellites. NPP will carry the first of the new sensors developed for this satellite fleet, now known as the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), to be launched in 2016. NPP is the bridge between NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites and the forthcoming series of JPSS satellites. The mission will test key technologies and instruments for the JPSS missions.

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: 10:25 a.m. EST

In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF), integration of the Mars Science Laboratory into the Atlas V payload fairing is under way this week. On Nov. 1, it will be hoisted atop the payload transporter. MSL will be moved to Launch Complex 41 during the overnight hours of Nov. 2.

Curiosity has 10 science instruments to search for evidence about whether Mars has had environments favorable for microbial life, including chemical ingredients for life. 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.