Launches

By | September 8, 2008 | Satellite News Feed

Space Shuttles Atlantis, Endeavour Will Launch Two Days Later On Weather Problems

Atlantis To Lift Off At 12:33 A.M. Oct. 10; Endeavour To Fly At 8:43 P.M. ET Nov. 12

Weather problems prompted NASA to delay by two days each the scheduled launches of Space Shuttle Atlantis on a repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, and the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to the International Space Station.

Atlantis was rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center to Launch Pad 39A, even though Hurricane Ike, a category three storm, still is churning. The Shuttle Atlantis STS-125 mission to the Hubble Space Telescope is targeted for Oct. 10, while the Endeavour STS-126 supply mission to the International Space Station has moved to Nov. 12.

Shuttle managers made the decision after Atlantis was rolled to the launch pad and the effects of Tropical Storm Hanna were beyond Kennedy Space Center. That allowed managers to more accurately assess the impacts of recent tropical systems on the launch schedule.

Atlantis now is targeted to launch at approximately 12:33 a.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 10. NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Oct. 9. The 11-day flight will include five spacewalks to repair and upgrade the Hubble telescope. Atlantis is scheduled to land at approximately 10:21 p.m., Oct. 20.

Scott Altman will command STS-125, with Gregory C. Johnson serving as pilot. Mission specialists include veteran spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Mike Massimino, and first-time space fliers Andrew Feustel, Michael Good and Megan McArthur.

Endeavour will close the NASA 2008 shuttle manifest with a 15-day mission to deliver supplies and cargo to the space station. During the STS-126 mission, NASA astronaut Sandra Magnus will replace Greg Chamitoff as an Expedition 18 crew member on the station. Chamitoff will return to Earth after five months in space. The Endeavour targeted launch time is 8:43 p.m. ET Nov. 12. Landing will occur at approximately 2:45 p.m., Nov. 27.

Chris Ferguson will command STS-126, with Eric Boe serving as pilot.

Mission specialists will be Steve Bowen, Shane Kimbrough, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Donald Pettit, Magnus and Chamitoff.

The formal launch dates for space shuttle flights are determined during the Flight Readiness Review, which is conducted about two weeks before launch. The STS-125 review is scheduled for Sept. 22-23.

The review for STS-126 is scheduled for Oct. 30.

An STS-125 launch dress rehearsal, known as the terminal countdown demonstration test, or TCDT, is scheduled to take place at Kennedy Sept. 22-24. The test provides each shuttle crew with an opportunity to participate in simulated countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency training.

GeoEye Satellite Launched From Vandenberg On Delta II

A new GeoEye Inc. [GEOY] satellite, GeoEye-1, launched successfully on a Delta II rocket from United Launch Alliance, The Boeing Co. [BA] and GeoEye announced.

Liftoff occurred from launch pad SLC-2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The ULA Delta II rocket deployed the spacecraft approximately 58 minutes after liftoff.

GeoEye-1 will have the highest resolution of any commercial imaging system, capable of collecting images with a ground resolution of 16 inches (.41 meters) in panchromatic (black-and-white) mode.

"This launch signifies Boeing’s continued commitment to provide our commercial customers with the Delta II vehicle, which has a 98.5 percent launch success rate," said Ken Heinly, director of Boeing’s Launch Products & Services and Boeing Launch Services president.

ULA delayed the launch to last Thursday from an earlier target of Aug. 22 to position resources to support receipt of down-range telemetry from the Delta II booster rocket after launch and initial flight from Vandenberg.

The support aircraft unexpectedly became unavailable, so ULA had to seek an alternative means of capturing this telemetry.

European GOCE Satellite Launch Delayed To Oct 5

The European Space Agency (ESA) will delay the launch of a satellite to study gravity, ESA announced.

That launch, earlier set for Wednesday from the the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia, now will be attempted on Oct. 5, because of a glitch in a guidance and navigation subsystem that was detected yesterday, ESA announced.

The ESA Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has been developed to bring about a whole new level of understanding of one of Earth’s most fundamental forces of nature — the gravity field.

The gravity satellite embodies many firsts in terms of its design and use of new technology in space to map the gravity field in unprecedented detail, according to ESA. As the most advanced gravity space mission to date, GOCE will realize a broad range of fascinating new possibilities for the fields of oceanography, solid Earth physics, geodesy and sea- level research, and significantly contribute to furthering understanding of climate change.

Although invisible, gravity is a complex force of nature that has an immeasurable impact on everyday lives. It is often assumed that the force of gravity on the surface of the Earth has a constant value, but in fact the value of ‘g’ varies subtly from place to place. These variations are due to a number of factors such as the rotation of the Earth, the position of mountains and ocean trenches and variations in density of Earth’s interior.

Over its lifetime of about 20 months, GOCE will map these global variations in the gravity field with extreme detail and accuracy. This will result in a unique model of the geoid, which is the surface of equal gravitational potential defined by the gravity field — crucial for deriving accurate measurements of ocean circulation and sea-level change, both of which are affected by climate change. GOCE-derived data is also much needed to understand more about processes occurring inside the Earth and for use in practical applications such as surveying and levelling.

Since the gravitational signal is stronger closer to Earth, GOCE is designed to cut through what remains of the Earth’s atmosphere at just 250 kilometers (155.3 miles) above the surface of the planet. This low-orbiting spacecraft is the first mission to employ the concept of gradiometry, the measurement of acceleration differences over short distances between an ensemble of proof masses inside the satellite.

GOCE is equipped with three pairs of ultra-sensitive accelerometers arranged in three dimensions that respond to tiny variations in the ‘gravitational tug’ of the Earth as it travels along its orbital path. Because of their different position in the gravitational field they all experience the gravitational acceleration of the Earth slightly differently. The three axes of the gradiometer allow the simultaneous measurement of six independent but complementary components of the gravity field.

Although the gradiometer forms the heart of the satellite, to measure gravity there can be no interference from moving parts so the entire spacecraft is actually one extremely sensitive measuring device.

Russian Progress Freighter To Launch Wednesday From Baikonur And Dock At Space Station Friday

A Russian Progress cargo ship will launch Wednesday from Baikonur Cosmodrome and dock at 5:01 p.m. ET Friday with the International Space Station, NASA announced.

The freighter will carry food, fuel and supplies for the station and crew, Expedition 17 Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko, Russian cosmonauts, and Greg Chamitoff, a U.S. astronaut.

Upon arrival, the Progress will dock automatically to the aft port of the Zvezda service module.

NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 3:30 p.m., with commentary and any downlink television that is available.

The cargo ship is carrying more than two tons of supplies.

Standard Missile-6 Intercepts Drone, Passes Test

The Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) anti-air-threat system Friday intercepted a BQM-74 aerial drone to pass the second test of the defensive asset, Raytheon Co. [RTN] announced.

Testing was performed at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

The newly developed SM-6 active seeker was paired with the Navy legacy

command system, so the system autonomously acquired and engaged the target.

"The SM-6 integrates the legacy standard missile airframe and

semi-active guidance technology with the power of the Advanced Medium-Range

Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) active seeker," said Louis Moncada, Raytheon

Missile Systems SM-6 program director. "[The] test demonstrated this

capability at low altitudes."

The SM-6 provides advanced anti-air warfare and over-the-horizon capabilities against aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. The over-the-horizon capabilities allow the missile to engage a target beyond the line of sight.

"The SM-6 program continues to move forward on budget and on schedule," said Kirk Johnson, Naval Sea Systems Command Standard Missile program manager.

NASA’s Shuttle and Rocket Missions

Updated — September 5 – 11:30 a.m. EDT

Legend: + Targeted For | *No Earlier Than (Tentative) | **To Be Determined

2008 Launches

Date: October +

Mission: TacSat-3

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Minotaur Rocket

Launch Site: Wallops Flight Facility – Goddard Space Flight Center

Description: NASA will support the Air Force launch of the TacSat-3 satellite, managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate. TacSat-3 will demonstrate the capability to furnish real-time data to the combatant commander. NASA Ames will fly a microsat and NASA Wallops will fly the CubeSats on this flight in addition to providing the launch range.

Date: Oct. 5

Mission: IBEX

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL Rocket

Launch Site: Reagan Test Site, Kwajalein Atoll

Launch Window: 12:41 to 12:48 p.m. EDT

Description: IBEX’s science objective is to discover the global interaction between the solar wind and the interstellar medium and will achieve this objective by taking a set of global energetic neutral atom images that will answer four fundamental science questions.

Date: Oct. 10 +

Mission: STS-125

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 12:33 a.m. EDT

Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility

Landing Date and Time: Oct. 20 +

Description: Space Shuttle Atlantis will fly seven astronauts into space for the fifth and final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. During the 11-day flight, the crew will repair and improve the observatory’s capabilities through 2013.

Date: Nov. 12 +

Mission: STS-126

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 8:43 p.m. EST

Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility

Landing Date and Time: Nov. 27 +

Description: Space Shuttle Endeavour launching on assembly flight ULF2, will deliver a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the International Space Station.

2009 Launches

Date: 2009

Mission: Ares I-X Test Flight

Launch Vehicle: Ares I-X

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39B

Description: The Ares I-X test flight is NASA’s first test flight for the Agency’s new Constellation launch vehicle — Ares I. The Ares I-X flight will provide NASA with an early opportunity to test and prove flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I.

Date: Jan. 15

Mission: OCO

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Taurus Rocket

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC 576-E

Description: The Orbiting Carbon Observatory is a new Earth orbiting mission sponsored by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder Program.

Date: Jan. 23 *

Mission: STSS Demonstrators Program – Missile Defense Agency

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17, Pad A

Description: STSS Demonstrators Program is a midcourse tracking technology demonstrator and is part of an evolving ballistic missile defense system. STSS is capable of tracking objects after boost phase and provides trajectory information to other sensors and interceptors. To be launched by NASA for the Missile Defense Agency.

Date: Feb. 4

Mission: NOAA-N Prime

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC-2

Description: NOAA-N Prime is the latest polar-orbiting satellite developed by NASA/Goddard Spaceflight Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA uses two satellites, a morning and afternoon satellite, to ensure every part of the Earth is observed at least twice every 12 hours. NOAA-N will collect information about Earth’s atmosphere and environment to improve weather prediction and climate research across the globe.

Date: Feb. 10 *

Mission: GOES-O

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta IV

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 37

Description: NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are actively engaged in a cooperative program, the multi-mission Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite series N-P. This series will be a vital contributor to weather, solar and space operations, and science.

Date: Feb. 12 +

Mission: STS-119

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Discovery launching on assembly flight 15A, will deliver the fourth starboard truss segment to the International Space Station.

Date: March 2 *

Mission: LRO/LCROSS

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 41

Description: LRO will launch with the objectives to finding safe landing sites, locate potential resources, characterize the radiation environment and test new technology. The Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite mission is seeking a definitive answer about the presence or absence of water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at either the Moon’s North or South Pole.

Date: April 10

Mission: Kepler

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17 – Pad 17-B

Description: The Kepler Mission, a NASA Discovery mission, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to detect and characterize hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone.

Date: April 30

Mission: STSS ATRR – Missile Defense Agency

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC-2

Description: STSS ATRR serves as a pathfinder for future launch and mission technology for the Missile Defense Agency. To be launched by NASA for the MDA.

Date: May 15 +

Mission: STS-127

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver the exposed facility of Japan’s Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station.

Date: June 15

Mission: Glory

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Taurus Rocket

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC 576-E

Description: The Glory Mission will help increase our understanding of the Earth’s energy balance by collecting data on the properties of aerosols and black carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere and how the Sun’s irradiance affects the Earth’s climate.

Date: July 30 +

Mission: STS-128

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Atlantis will use a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to carry experiment and storage racks to the International Space Station.

Date: Sept. 15 *

Mission: Mars Science Laboratory

Description: The Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life and to determine the planet’s habitability.

Date: Oct. 15 +

Mission: STS-129

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Discovery will deliver components including two spare gyroscopes, two nitrogen tank assemblies, two pump modules, an ammonia tank assembly and a spare latching end effector for the station’s robotic arm to the International Space Station.

Date: November +

Mission: WISE

Description: The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) will survey the entire sky in the mid-infrared with far greater sensitivity than any previous mission or program ever has. The WISE survey will consist of over a million images, from which hundreds of millions of astronomical objects will be catalogued.

Date: Dec. 10 +

Mission: STS-130

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver the final connecting node, Node 3, and the Cupola, a robotic control station with six windows around its sides and another in the center that provides a 360-degree view around the International Space Station.

2010 Launches

Date: 26 Jan.

Mission: SDO

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 41

Description: The first Space Weather Research Network mission in the Living With a Star (LWS) Program of NASA.

Date: Feb. 11 +

Mission: STS-131

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Atlantis will carry a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module filled with science racks that will be transferred to laboratories of the International Space Station.

Date: April 8 +

Mission: STS-132

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Discovery mission will carry an integrated cargo carrier to deliver maintenance and assembly hardware, including spare parts for space station systems. In addition, the second in a series of new pressurized components for Russia, a Mini Research Module, will be permanently attached to the bottom port of the Zarya module.

Date: May 31 +

Mission: STS-133

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver critical spare components including antennas and gas tanks to the International Space Station.

For NASA’s Space Shuttle Flights and International Space Station Assembly Sequence, visit:

� Shuttle Consolidated Launch Manifest

Source: NASA

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