Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Nov. 18, 2008
Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Date: NET Jan. 15, 2009
Launch Window: TBD

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base 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.

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 (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 to begin electrical testing. 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 erect the rocket at Space Launch Complex 2 is scheduled to begin Dec. 3.

Previous status reports are available at:


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