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

The Virtual Launch Control Center was deactivated at 7:40 a.m. EDT

                                                   + View All Launch Videos

                                                   + View First Launch Attempt - April 21, 2006
                                                   + View Second Launch Attempt - April 25, 2006
                                                   + View Third Launch Attempt - April 26, 2006

NOTE: Refresh/Reload your browser every few minutes to view launch control center updates. All times are in EDT unless otherwise stated.

Bruce Buckingham discusses the CALIPSO/CloudSat launch with NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale and concludes today's coverage.
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7:40 a.m. - And we have spacecraft separation! The CloudSat spacecraft will now begin its mission to provide the first global survey of cloud profiles necessary to better understand cloud-climate interactions over the globe.
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7:38 a.m. - At T+96 minutes, the upper cylinder has separated, and the CloudSat spacecraft is visible and ready for release.

Did you know?
Once CALIPSO is operational, mission operations will be conducted at the NASA's Langley Mission Operations Control Center and France's Spacecraft Operations Control Center.

7:04 a.m. - And we have spacecraft separation! The CALIPSO spacecraft has begun its mission to probe the vertical structure and properties of thin clouds and aerosols all over the globe. CloudSat separation is expected in about half an hour.
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7:02 a.m. - The second stage engine restarted and cut off right on time. SECO 2 is complete and the team is standing by for release of the CALIPSO spacecraft in about a minute.

6:55 a.m. - The Hartebeesthoek tracking station in South Africa is currently picking up the rocket's signal. Once the rocket passes out of range, its signal will be received at the tracking station in Malindi, Kenya. Standing by for the second stage engine restart in just a few minutes. This 12-second burn will be followed by the second cut-off of the second stage engine (SECO 2).

Did you know?
Boeing Delta II rockets can be configured into two-or three-stage vehicles to accommodate a variety of mission requirements. If there are three or four strap-on graphite epoxy motors (GEMs) all are ignited at liftoff, if nine GEMs are used six are ignited at liftoff and three are lit during flight.

6:14 a.m. - Confirmation! SECO did take place nominally and the rocket is in orbit. For the next 18 minutes the rocket will be in a data blackout until its signal is picked up by the tracking station in Antarctica.

6:13 a.m. - The "Big Crow" telemetry aircraft is receiving data from the rocket, but the launch team is not receiving the data. They're waiting to confirm second stage engine cut-off (SECO) right now; the rocket should be in orbit at this point. Stand by for confirmation.

6:08 a.m. - The second stage is burning well as the rocket passes 85 miles altitude. It's traveling more than 11,000 miles per hour already.

6:07 a.m. - The second stage engine has ignited and the fairing is jettisoned. There's a clean separation signal on the fairing and everything's looking great so far.

6:06 a.m. - The vehicle is performing perfectly as the first stage main engine cut-off occurs.

Today's official launch time is 6:02:16.361 a.m.

6:03 a.m. - All four solid motors have been jettisoned and ascent is proceeding well. The main engine and verniers are looking good.

6:02 a.m. - T-10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... We have ignition and liftoff of NASA's CALIPSO/CloudSat spacecraft, probing Earth's atmosphere to unravel the mysteries of clouds and climate change.
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6:00 a.m. - Pulse suppression water is on.

Did you know?
When the Delta II launches, its first-stage engine and four strap-on boosters ignite at the moment of liftoff and the rocket rises vertically from the launch pad and then heads south over the Pacific Ocean. Click here to see an image of the launch sequence. + Click here to see an image of the launch sequence.

5:58 a.m. - T-4 minutes and counting. The launch pad water system has been enabled.

5:54 a.m. - The Boeing team has been polled and is ready to proceed with launch. The launch conductor is giving final instructions to the team and we are less than four minutes away from the release of this final built-in hold.

5:51 a.m. - NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale has conducted a final launch management poll, and the team is "go" for launch.
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Today's launch is set for 6:02:16 a.m. Eastern time. Today's window is instantaneous, so any issue that arises at this point will force a scrub.

5:48 a.m. - T-4 minutes and holding. This is a 10-minute built-in hold.

5:42 a.m. - T-10 minutes and counting. There are six minutes remaining until the T-4 minute built-in hold.

5:38 a.m. - At T-14 minutes and counting, the Western Range status is "green," meaning there are no violations and everything is "go." This morning's countdown has been uneventful so far, with no weather, range or technical issues in work.

5:35 a.m. - The countdown clock is at T-16 minutes and counting. Preparations are continuing on schedule toward this morning's liftoff of the Delta II rocket carrying CALIPSO/CloudSat. The countdown clock will stop again at T-4 minutes for a 10-minute built-in hold.

Did you know?
There are four basic types of families of clouds: cirrus (wispy), stratus (layered), cumulus (heap) and nimbus (rain).

5:32 a.m. - T-20 minutes and counting.

5:27 a.m. - At 15 minutes into the T-20 minute hold, the Launch Conductor has polled the Boeing team and they're ready to release the hold.

5:25 a.m. - NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale has polled the launch team to release the hold at T-20. The team is ready.

5:13 a.m. - Launch Weather Officer Lee Barnhill has given a weather update, and the forecast continues to look great for launch this morning. The chance of weather prohibiting launch remains at 0%.

5:12 a.m. - T-30 minutes and holding for 20 minutes.

5:09 a.m. - The first and second stage slews are complete.

Did you know?
Due to the sun-synchronous orbit flying close to the Earth's north and south poles and the need to adjust to the precise A-Train constellation orbit, this mission has an instantaneous launch window.

5:02 a.m. - The countdown clock shows T-30 minutes and counting. There are 10 minutes remaining until the T-20 minute hold. This is a built-in hold lasting 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Delta II's engine nozzles are being rotated through a pattern of movements called slews. These motions serve as steering checks for the first and second stage engines.

4:47 a.m. - At T-44 minutes and counting, first stage helium and nitrogen decay checks are in work.

4:43 a.m. - LOX loading is complete after 23 minutes and 50 seconds. The team will allow some of the liquid oxygen to boil off, maintaining a level of 95% throughout the countdown until T-4 minutes. This is another step to prevent pressure build-up inside the tank. As these "LOX tank relief cycles" take place, oxygen is vented from the rocket in puffs.

The presence of supercold liquid oxygen inside the tank has caused ice to form on the outside of the rocket, making it appear to change color from blue to white.

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.

4:23 a.m. - LOX has been flowing for five minutes now as the countdown clock reaches T-68 minutes and counting. Oxygen can be seen venting from the side of the rocket's first stage, preventing a pressure build-up inside the tank during LOX loading.

4:17 a.m. - At T-75 minutes and counting, the liquid oxygen has begun flowing into the first stage of the Delta II rocket. This process takes about 20 minutes.

4:12 a.m. - At T-80 minutes and counting, roadblocks have been established at the launch site, and the flight hazard area has been cleared. The team has given the "go" to begin "LOXing," the process of loading liquid oxygen into the first stage.

NASA Commentator Bruce Buckingham describes the rollback of the launch tower that took place earlier in the week.
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4:05 a.m. - NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale just polled his team and they've given the "go" that they're ready to begin cryo tanking.

4:00 a.m. - Good morning, and welcome to our coverage. The countdown is well underway, and some key events have already taken place. Launch Weather Officer Lee Barnhill just briefed the launch team and there are no weather watches or warnings at this time. Temperatures will be in the mid 50s at launch time, and the weather is "go" for launch, from T-0 through T+2 hours, with an overall chance of weather prohibiting launch at 0%.

No technical issues are in work at this time.

About half an hour ago, at 3:27 a.m., the Delta II launch vehicle's first stage nitrogen and helium system was completely pressurized, followed by the second stage at 3:48. The vehicle is already loaded with about 10,000 gallons of RP-1 fuel, a highly refined kerosene.

NASA Commentator Bruce Buckingham begins live televised coverage on NASA TV.
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