Status Report

NASA Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report 6 December 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
December 6, 2005
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MISSION: New Horizons
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Lockheed Martin Atlas V 551 (AV-010)
LAUNCH PAD: Complex 41
LAUNCH SITE: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
LAUNCH DATE: Jan. 11, 2006
LAUNCH WINDOW: 2:11 to 4:07 p.m. EST

At Launch Complex 41, the Atlas V was successfully tested yesterday during a launch pad “Wet Dress Rehearsal.” This was a countdown test with the launch vehicle fully loaded with propellants, including RP-1 fuel, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

The fifth and last solid rocket booster was mated to the Atlas V on Nov. 29.

At the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF), Spacecraft Autonomy Testing — the ability of the New Horizons spacecraft to function without commands from Earth — has been successfully completed.

The Boeing third stage, the upper stage booster for the spacecraft’s escape from low-Earth orbit, was delivered to the PHSF on Dec. 1 as scheduled. The spacecraft will be mated to the third stage on Friday.

Hydrazine fuel for attitude control and course-correction maneuvers was loaded into the spacecraft on Sunday. The “wet” spin-balance test with fuel aboard is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Encapsulation of the spacecraft into the Atlas V fairing is scheduled to occur on Dec. 12, followed by transportation to Complex 41 on Dec. 16.

MISSION: Cloud-Aerosol Lidar & Infrared Pathfinder Satellite
Observation/CloudSat (CALIPSO/CloudSat)
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Boeing Delta 7420 with Dual Payload Attach Fitting
LAUNCH PAD: Space Launch Complex 2
LAUNCH SITE: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
LAUNCH DATE: No earlier than February 2006

CALIPSO and CloudSat are installed in the Dual Payload Attach Fitting at the Astrotech payload processing facilities on north Vandenberg. They will remain there until a new launch date is determined and then prepared for transportation to NASA’s Space Launch Complex 2.

Further Delta II preparations at the launch pad are on hold until the CALIPSO/CloudSat payloads arrive for installation atop the second stage.

MISSION: Space Technology 5 (ST5)
LAUNCH VEHICLE: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL
LAUNCH SITE: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
LAUNCH DATE: Feb. 28, 2006
LAUNCH WINDOW: 5:57:21 a.m. – 7:19:21 a.m. PST

The Space Technology 5, or ST5 spacecraft, arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday to begin processing at NASA Hangar 836. ST-5 consists of three miniaturized, autonomous micro-satellites to be installed in a stacked configuration within the fairing of the Pegasus XL rocket. They will be launched into a 2,800-mile-high polar orbit in February.

After deployment, the micro-sats will be positioned in a “string of pearls” constellation that demonstrates the ability to position the spacecraft to perform simultaneous multi-point magnetic field measurements using highly sensitive magnetometers. Using data collected from the ST5 constellation, scientists can begin to understand and map the intensity and direction of the Earth’s magnetic field, its relation to space weather events, and the effects on our planet.

The ST-5 project is an instrumental part of the New Millennium Program to identify, develop, build and test innovative technologies and concepts that can be used in future missions.

SpaceRef staff editor.