Launch Coverage

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Virtual Launch Control Center - CALIPSO/CloudSat
04.21.06
 
The Virtual Launch Control Center was activated at 4:00 a.m. EDT

The Virtual Launch Control Center was deactivated at 6:24 a.m. EDT

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NASA TV Commentator Bruce Buckingham concludes coverage of the first launch attempt of CALIPSO and CloudSat.
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6:08 a.m. - The launch is scrubbed for today. The team is currently responding to a request for a 24-hour turnaround scrub procedure. Tomorrow's launch would occur at 6:02:26 a.m., about 18 seconds later than today.

NASA TV Commentator Bruce Buckingham announces that today's launch is scrubbed.
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6:01 a.m. - A hold was called by the CALIPSO team. The team lost contact with French launch assets, which were required for launch (both primary and back-up) and this has resulted in a launch scrub for today.

5:59 a.m. - T-3 minutes and counting. The first and second stage are armed. CALIPSO and CloudSat are go for launch.

5:58 a.m. - We are now at T-4 minutes and counting. The launch pad water sound suppression system has been enabled. The Delta II is being transferred to internal power.

5:53 a.m. - The Boeing launch conductor has polled his team and they report that they are ready to proceed with the final minutes of the countdown.

NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale conducts the final poll before launch.
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5:48 a.m. - We are at T-4 minutes and holding. This is a scheduled 10-minute hold and the final one of this countdown.

5:46 a.m. - T-6 minutes remaining in the countdown. The launch weather officer has declared that weather conditions are go for launch.

5:42 a.m. - T-10 minutes and counting. The Delta II puffs white vapor from its midsection as liquid oxygen warms, expands and is vented outside to maintain proper pressure inside the tank.

5:35 a.m. - T-17 minutes and counting. The countdown is proceeding normally.

5:32 a.m. - The launch manager has released the hold and we are at T-20 minutes and counting. One more built-in hold remains at T-4 minutes, which lasts for 10 minutes.

5:27 a.m. - The launch conductor has polled the team for readiness to continue with the countdown. The team is ready. We are now 15 minutes into the 20-minute hold.

5:24 a.m. - NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale has polled his team. They are "go" to proceed with the terminal countdown. He reports that they are working no issues at this time and the weather is clear. Launch preparations are progressing on schedule toward the 6:02 a.m. liftoff.

A graphic displaying the launch phases of a Delta II rocket.
Did you know?
CloudSat and CALIPSO will fly in formation with each other and in concert with the other satellites that make up the "A-Train," a constellation of several Earth-observing satellites.

5:18 a.m. - Safety crews have verified that the flight hazard area is clear. LOX level is being maintained at 95%, and we are approximately 42 minutes from launch.

5:13 a.m. - The launch weather officer has just given a forecast update: The weather continues to look good for launch time, with only a 20% chance of violating the thick clouds rule.

5:12 a.m. - We are at T-20 minutes and holding. This is a scheduled 20-minute hold.

5:08 a.m. - Vehicle engine "slew checks" are beginning. Slew checks involve pivoting the Delta II's engine nozzles left and right to ensure that they are moving correctly. The test is performed first on the rocket's second stage and then on the first stage.

4:59 a.m. - We are at T-33 minutes and counting.

NASA TV Commentator Bruce Buckingham interviews Ron Boain, CloudSat Project Manager.
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Did you know?
CloudSat and CALIPSO will fly in formation with each other and in concert with the other satellites that make up the "A-Train," a constellation of several Earth-observing satellites.

NASA TV Commentator Bruce Buckingham interviews Dr. Kevin Brown, CALIPSO Project Manager.
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4:41 a.m. - First stage LOX level is at 100% -- liquid oxygen will now slowly trickle in to "top off" the tank until the final moments before launch. Loading of LOX into the first stage took 22 minutes and 52 seconds.

4:33 a.m. - The rocket begins icing over, turning from blue to white as the LOX loading continues.

NASA TV Commentator Bruce Buckingham interviews Mission Integration Manager John Calvert.
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4:27 a.m. - At T-65 minutes, we are eight minutes into liquid oxygen (LOX) loading.

Did you know?
CloudSat's cloud-profiling radar is more than 1,000 times more sensitive than typical weather radar.

4:17 a.m. - At T-75 minutes, loading of liquid oxygen into the rocket is underway.

4:12 a.m. - The launch manager has given permission to begin pumping liquid oxygen into the Delta II's first stage tanks.

4:12 a.m. - Safety teams have established road blocks around the launch area and ensured that the flight hazard area is secured.

NASA TV Commentator Bruce Buckingham interviews Kennedy Space Center Director Jim Kennedy.
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NASA TV Commentator Bruce Buckingham introduces coverage of today's launch of CALIPSO and CloudSat.
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**** The previous events took place before the start of live coverage. ****

3:57 a.m. - The launch weather officer has just finished giving his T-95 minute weather briefing. Today's launch weather forecast calls for temperatures in the lower 50's and a 20% of a weather violation due to thick clouds over the launch pad. There are no watches or warnings currently in effect and the launch range is clear of any safety concerns. In short, the weather looks good.

In the event the mission team has to attempt a launch tomorrow, there is a 30% chance weather could scrub the flight.

3:54 a.m. - Pressurization of the rocket's second stage helium and nitrogen systems are finished.

3:53 a.m. - The rocket's tracking beacons and engine heaters are now on.

3:24 a.m. - Pressurization of the rocket's first stage helium and nitrogen systems are finished.

3:06 a.m. - Engineers have started the Delta II's guidance control computer.

3:02 a.m. - NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale has given the go-ahead to release from the T-150 minute hold and begin the terminal countdown to the 6:02 a.m. launch of CALIPSO and CloudSat aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket.

Yesterday, the rocket was preloaded with 10,000 gallons of RP-1 kerosene propellants. Kerosene is usually loaded on launch day, but engineers elected to do it a day early for this mission.

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