Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 27 May 2011

By SpaceRef Editor
May 27, 2011
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Spacecraft: Aquarius
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7320
Launch Site:  Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Pad:  Space Launch Complex 2
Launch Date:  June 9, 2011
Launch Window: 7:20:13 – 7:25:13 a.m. PDT
Altitude/Inclination: 408.2 statute miles/98 degrees

At Vandenberg Air Force Base, the Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft was moved on May 20 from the payload processing facility on south Vandenberg to NASA’s Space Launch Complex 2 on north Vandenberg and hoisted atop the Delta II rocket. The mechanical and electrical connections are complete. The Flight Program Verification, an integrated electrical test involving the Delta II working together with the Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft, was successfully completed on May 25. Installation of the payload fairing around the satellite is scheduled for May 28.

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 is managing 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
Launch Site:  Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad:  Space Launch Complex 41
Launch Date:  Aug. 5, 2011
Launch Time: 11:40 a.m. EDT

Solar array No. 1 with its associated magnetometer boom was installed May 21. A deployment test was conducted on May 23, and a solar array illumination test also was performed. On May 24, a magnetometer functional test was done. The solar arrays now are being stowed for flight.

The Atlas V booster stage arrived by Antonov cargo aircraft at the Skid Strip on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the afternoon of May 23. The following morning it was offloaded and transported to the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center (ASOC) to begin processing. The Centaur upper stage arrived on May 25 and also was taken to the ASOC the next day. Later at the launch pad, the Atlas V-551 configuration for Juno will have five solid rocket boosters attached.

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

GRAIL arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility by Air Force C-17 cargo plane on May 20 from the Lockheed Martin plant in Denver, Colo. After offloading, it was transported to the Astrotech payload processing facility located near Kennedy Space Center. The pair of spacecraft was then placed on individual test stands. End-to-end communications system testing now is under way with the Deep Space Network. Solar array inspections now also are occurring.

At NASA’s Space Launch Complex 17B, with the Delta II fully stacked on the launch pad, prelaunch testing of the rocket began on May 20.

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
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, installation of the solar arrays on the cruise stage is under way, and mating of the heat shield to the back shell also is scheduled this week.

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.