Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Jan. 6, 2009
Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
Mission: NOAA-N Prime
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7320
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 2, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Date: February 4, 2009
Launch Window: 2:22:01 - 2:32:01 a.m. PST

Testing has been successfully completed on the solar array harness. Though no fault indications in the harness were found, two wires were disconnected to remove a possible "sneak circuit" electrical path. The spacecraft electrical connections have been returned to flight configuration. A solar array illumination test is planned for today. Preparations will begin next week to prepare the spacecraft for transportation to Space Launch Complex 2 and attachment to the Delta II rocket.

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

Mission: Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)
Launch Vehicle: Taurus XL (Orbital Sciences)
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 576-E, Vandenberg AFB
Launch Date: February 23, 2009
Launch Time: 1:50:29 a.m. PST

The work to prepare the OCO spacecraft for launch will resume with preparations for fueling, currently planned for Saturday. Fueling the spacecraft will then be performed next week. A spacecraft limited performance test will follow. The operation to install the payload fairing around the spacecraft is scheduled to begin Feb. 9.

Testing and prelaunch preparations continue on the Taurus launch vehicle by Orbital Sciences in Hangar 1555 on north Vandenberg. A launch vehicle verification test will be performed on Jan. 12 with a flight simulation planned for Jan. 15.

Mission: Kepler
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7925
Launch Pad: 17-B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Date: March 5, 2009
Launch Time: 10:48 p.m. EDT

Kepler arrived at the Astrotech payload processing facility near Kennedy Space Center this afternoon. Work is under way to remove the spacecraft from the shipping container. Initial testing will begin on Friday.

Launch preparations for the Delta II rocket continue on schedule at Pad 17-B. Loading the first stage with liquid oxygen as a leak check and to serve as a countdown demonstration and certification for the launch team is scheduled for Jan. 19. A flight simulation which exercises the electrical and mechanical systems of the rocket as they will operate after liftoff during flight will be conducted on Jan. 20.

Leak checks of the first stage fuel system are complete, and the checkout of the guidance and vehicle control system was finished before the holidays, as planned.

Previous status reports are available at:


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