Launch Coverage

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Virtual Launch Control Center - MRO
Archived coverage of the successful launch of MRO on August 12, 2005.

The Virtual Launch Control Center was activated at 5:15 a.m

The Virtual Launch Control Center was deactivated at 8:43 a.m.

+ View first launch attempt

8:41 a.m. - And we have spacecraft separation. The launch team cheers and claps marking the successful launch and beginning of this mission to Mars!

8:38 a.m. - We have confirmed main engine cutoff (MECO 2). We have begun to reorient the vehicle for the separation. There is less than two minutes until separation of the MRO spacecraft.

8:36 a.m. - We are two minutes before the main engine cutoff (MECO 2)

8:32 a.m. - Main Engine Start 2 - the burn is expected to be 5 minutes 25 seconds in duration.

8:31 a.m. - Centaur has begun readiness for its restart sequence.

8:30 a.m. - We are about 2 minutes away from the Centaur engine restart.

8:27 a.m. - Centaur has begun to reorient the vehicle.

8:26 a.m. - Centaur is completing another roll reversal.

Did you know?
The MRO will take a seven-month cruise to Mars and perform six months of aerobraking to reach its science orbit.

8:16 a.m. - The Centaur will fire for a second time at 47 minutes 37 seconds into the flight.

8:13 a.m. - We are approximately 30 minutes away from spacecraft separation. The Reaction Control System is maintaining the 1.5 degree roll.

8:08 a.m. - Centaur has now achieved 1.5 degree roll rate in the opposite direction.

8:07 a.m. - Centaur is in its roll reversal.

Did you know?
The MRO Spacecraft will use aerobraking, a phase of the mission where the orbiter uses the friction of the Martian atmosphere to slow it down as it gradually settles into its final orbit around Mars.

8:05 a.m. - We are now at T+22 minutes.

7:59 a.m. - The helium storage bottles are stable and Centaur is performing well.

7:57 a.m. - The Centaur's main engine cutoff (MECO-1) is complete for its first burn. The rocket's coast phase will last about 35 minutes before being propelled out of Earth's orbit and on its way toward the Red Planet.

7:54 a.m. - The security roadblocks are being adjusted and the flight hazard area has now been reopened at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41.

7:51 a.m. - The MRO team reports that the spacecraft is doing well during its ride so far. The rocket is 123 nautical miles in altitude.

7:47 a.m. - We have payload fairing separation. Centaur is burning. Speed is 17,733 feet per second.

7:46 a.m. - MRO has begun the solar vector roll to control the spacecraft during Centaur separation.

7:44 a.m. - Current acceleration level is 1.4 G.

7:43 a.m. - And it's 10… 9 … 8… 7… 6… 5 … 4… 3… 2… 1… and liftoff of the Atlas V rocket with MRO...surveying for the deepest insights into the mysterious evolution of Mars. The official liftoff time for MRO was 7:43:00.311 seconds.

7:41 a.m. At T- 1 min 55 seconds, launch sequencer start. Launch enabled.

7:40 a.m. The spacecraft is now on internal power. The MRO spacecraft and Atlas V launch vehicle are "go" for launch.

7:39 a.m. - We are now at T-4 and counting.

7:38 a.m. - The launch team has been given the "go" to resume the count at the end of the built-in hold.

7:33 a.m. - NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale has conducted his final "ready for launch" poll and reports that the NASA team is ready for launch. Lockheed Martin launch conductor will now poll the Atlas and Centaur teams.

7:29 a.m. - We are at T-4 minutes and holding.

7:27 a.m. - The latest launch parameters have been loaded. It is T-5 minutes and counting and we are at about a minute from the 10-minute built-in hold.

7:23 a.m. - Atlas V launch weather officer has given his final weather briefing. He reports we have just scattered conditions throughout at the area. The showers to the northeast are dissipating and they should not pose a threat during the window. Temperatures should be in the low to mid 80's. Overall there is only a 10% chance of constraints throughout the window and the weather is considered green at this time.

7:15 a.m. - The range has completed their final safety checks and we are at T-17 minutes and counting.

7:13 a.m. - At the T-20 minute mark and counting, the final flight preparations are completed.

Did you know?
ASOC = Atlas V Spaceflight Operations Center at Complex 41 is the launch control center for Atlas V missions.

7:01 a.m. - Now at T-31 minutes and counting, the Atlas V's liquid oxygen fill and drain valve cycle test has been completed.

6:55 a.m. - We are now at T-37 minutes and counting.

6:53 a.m. - The Centaur upper stage's liquid hydrogen has reached 97% and is now being topped off to keep it at flight level.

6:52 a.m. - The sun is up and the sky is a beautiful aqua as the MRO sits at the pad awaiting the 7:43 launch time.

6:38 a.m. - At the T-55 minute mark and counting, the final flight control preparations are beginning.

Did you know?
The fueling of the Atlas V is an automated process. The launch team controls the process however an automated computer program will actually perform the tanking operations.

6:36 a.m. - The second stage Centaur's liquid hydrogen level is at 10%.

6:31 a.m. - At T-1 hour and counting, the liquid hydrogen tanking has begun and is proceeding without any of the issues that we had yesterday. The range safety command checks are complete. Sunrise is approaching over Cape Canaveral's Complex 41 as we proceed to a launch at the beginning of the launch window of 7:43 a.m.

6:30 a.m. - We are now at T-1 hour 2 minutes and counting. The Atlas V first stage is now at 50% full and is slowly icing over. As this happens, it appears to change color from bronze to white.

6:26 a.m. - At T-1 hour 6 minutes and counting, the Atlas V's liquid oxygen is at 40%.

6:23 a.m. - The Centaur's liquid oxygen tank has reached flight level. The liquid hydrogen still needs to be loaded to be ready for flight.

6:17 a.m. - T-1 hour 15 minutes and counting. On the fairing that holds the MRO at the top of the rocket, there is a small inscription as a dedication to a young girl, Krystal Koch, who was killed in a small plane crash in the Florida Keys. Ms. Koch was a NASA co-op employee.

6:11 a.m. - The problem with the sensor during yesterday's launch attempt was due to a lightning strike less than a mile from the launch pad. The software built into the system acted appropriately when triggering the "fill to cut off." The filling of the liquid hydrogen into the Centaur's stage was stopped when the software triggered that it was full when it was only 5%. The software has been reset and no issues are expected today.

Did you know?
The MRO mission marks the first time that the Atlas V launch vehicle has been used by NASA.

6:09 a.m. - Liquid oxygen in the second stage Centaur is at 80% level.

6:07 a.m. - Centaur's liquid oxygen level is at 70%.

6:03 a.m. - We are at the T-1 hour 29 minutes mark and counting, and the action has been given to begin the Atlas V liquid oxygen tanking operations.

6:00 a.m. - We are at T-1 hour 32 minutes and counting. The latest required weather balloon was released, and the "go" has been given for the chilldown operations for the Centaur's hydrogen fueling.

5:57 a.m. - The Centaur's liquid oxygen is now at 30%

5:53 a.m. - Now at T-1 hour 40 minutes. The Centaur's liquid oxygen tank is now 10% full.

5:50 a.m. - At T-1 hour 43 minutes, the Safe Arm Device Cycle Test has been completed.

Did you know?
The Atlas V rocket is made up of two stages, the Atlas V Booster and the Centaur upper stage.

5:47 a.m. - Chilldown operations are reported completed. The action has been given to begin the Centaur's liquid oxygen tanking operations.

5:42 a.m. - We are at T-1 hour 50 minutes and counting. The transfer lines to the Centaur second stage are being conditioned (chilled down) to prepare for the loading of the liquid oxygen.

5:39 a.m. - The Safe Arm Device Cycle Test is being performed.

5:33 a.m. - We are at T-2 hours and counting. The liquid oxygen tank for the Atlas V is in chilldown.

5:28 a.m. - The "Ready Report for Cryogenic Tanking" has been formed and the entire launch team is ready. This report is taken by the Launch Conductor.

5:26 a.m. - The pre-test briefing is now being given. This is a brief description of how the countdown will continue with explanations of how to report any issues.

5:25 a.m. - NASA Launch Manager, Chuck Dovale, has completed his readiness to proceed with cryogenic tanking poll. The team is ready for tanking to begin.

5:17 a.m. - At this time we are working no issues on either the launch vehicle or the range.

5:03 a.m. - We are at T-2 hours and holding. This is the first of two programmed holds, this one lasting 30 minutes.

4:58 a.m. - The order was given to clear Launch Complex 41 and hold fire checks are complete.

4:53 a.m. - The T-170 minute weather briefing with Clay Flinn, Launch Weather Officer, indicated that temperatures should be in the low to mid 80s. The chance of lightning is only 10% and there is no threat of winds throughout the window. All weather criteria are green and expected to remain so throughout the rest of the countdown.

4:48 a.m. - Flight countdown preparations have been completed at T-2 hours 15 minutes.

4:33 a.m. - At T-2 hours 30 minutes, flight countdown preparations have begun.

Two programmed built-in holds are scheduled, one for 30 minutes at T-2 hours, and the other for 10 minutes at T-4 minutes.

The expected liftoff time is 7:43 a.m. at the start of the two-hour window. Storms off the coast are moving away from the Cape and are expected to pose no threat for launch.

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