Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) Launch Vehicle:
Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences) Launch Pad:
Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Date:
No Earlier Than Jan. 15, 2009 Launch Window:
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Nov. 11. It was shipped from spacecraft facilities in Dulles, Va., by Orbital Sciences, builder of the spacecraft. The following day it was removed from its shipping container and placed on a test stand at the Astrotech payload processing facility located on north Vandenberg.
On Nov. 13, the protective coverings over the spacecraft were removed so that processing could begin. Blanket preparations and edge taping on the spacecraft were completed and final closeouts began Nov. 19. Mechanical preparations and work on the electronic ground support equipment were completed today. A protective covering was placed around the spacecraft.
Processing of the Taurus launch vehicle is under way by Orbital Sciences in Hangar 1555 on north Vandenberg. Installation of the UHF communications antenna occurred this week. Telemetry testing is scheduled for next week. Thermal protection system insulation and electrical work is also under way on "Stage 0." Preparations are also under way at the launch pad to prepare it to receive Stage 0 next month.
Some additional tests need to be performed on the electronics control unit, or ECU, on the first stage. These additional tests are deemed necessary for the vehicle to be fully flight qualified. It is not clear yet how much time this will take, but it is expected to affect the planned launch date of mid-January. Coordination with the Western Range will also be necessary to determine the earliest launch date available. Mission:
NOAA-N Prime Launch Vehicle:
Delta II 7320 Launch Pad:
Space Launch Complex 2, Vandenberg AFB Launch Date:
February 4, 2009 Launch Window:
2:22:01 - 2:32:01 a.m. PST
The NOAA-N Prime spacecraft arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Nov. 4 aboard a C-5 aircraft. It was taken to NASA payload processing facility 1610 located on north Vandenberg. The following day the spacecraft was removed from its shipping container. On Nov. 6, the spacecraft was rotated from horizontal to vertical and mated to the payload attach fitting associated with the Delta II. The spacecraft was powered on by Lockheed Martin for the first time on Nov. 13. Electrical testing began Nov. 14 and continued this week. Spacecraft communications system tests are now under way.
The Delta II arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Nov. 13. Work by United Launch Alliance to stack the rocket at Space Launch Complex 2 is scheduled to begin Dec. 2.
Previous status reports are available at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/status/index.html
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