Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Dec. 17, 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: Feb. 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:53 a.m. PST (tentative)

Due to the availability of the Western Range, the launch of OCO is being rescheduled to Feb. 23. A new schedule of spacecraft and launch vehicle processing is currently being developed to support that date.

The work to prepare the OCO spacecraft for launch has gone well. Fueling the spacecraft is expected to occur during the week of Jan. 12.

Testing and prelaunch preparations continue on the Taurus launch vehicle by Orbital Sciences in Hangar 1555 on north Vandenberg. Loading of software into the Taurus flight computer is under way this week.

Mission: NOAA-N Prime
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7320
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 2, Vandenberg AFB
Launch Date: Feb. 4, 2009
Launch Window: 2:22:01 - 2:32:01 a.m. PST

Stacking of the Delta II rocket at Space Launch Complex 2 is complete, and the mechanical checkout and electrical testing are under way. After the holidays, avionics system checkout is scheduled for Jan. 7, a liquid oxygen tanking test and countdown demonstration is planned for Jan. 8, and a simulated flight test will follow on Jan. 9.

NOAA-N Prime spacecraft electrical testing continues this week. During one of the spacecraft tests performed previously, a Zener diode associated with solar array temperature telemetry data received a brief burst of high current causing it to short circuit.

Potential sources of this anomaly are under evaluation to determine whether it was from the solar array, its associated electrical harness, or from the spacecraft bus. It is important to understand the root cause of this problem to assure full spacecraft mission success while in orbit. Engineers are working to understand the reason for this problem and determine a course of action later this week.

Previous status reports are available at:


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