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Virtual Launch Control Center - ST5
The Virtual Launch Control Center was activated March 15, 2006 at 7:30 a.m. EST.

The Virtual Launch Control Center was deactivated March 15, 2006 at 9:45 a.m. EST.

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Watch as NASA Commentator George Diller wraps up today's coverage.
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9:44 a.m. - Assistant NASA Launch Manager Omar Baez has announced they will have to stand down for at least 48 hours to change out the fin batteries -- and they still have to figure out what went wrong with the flight control pins.
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9:41 a.m. - The Stargazer L-1011 will land on Vandenberg's runway 12.

9:38 a.m. - The launch team is "go" for the Stargazer, still carrying the Pegasus rocket, to return to the base.

9:30 a.m. - The Pegasus rocket has been safed at this time. The pins associated with the steering controls could not be retracted. The Stargazer aircraft is going to return to Vandenberg. SIGI, the Pegasus navigation system, has been reconfigured for captive carry.

9:28 a.m. - Abort. The drop has been aborted. We've waved off.
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9:24 a.m. - SIGI is configured for flight. Launch window has been verified as "go."

9:23 a.m. - L-4 and counting. The L-1011 has entered the box. Orbital Launch Conductor Adam Lewis is conducting the final launch readiness poll and the launch team is go to proceed with the final checklist.

Listen as NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale conducts his launch readiness poll.
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Watch as George Diller interviews ST5 Project Scientist Jim Slavin.
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9:21 a.m. - Avionics internal power supply is on.

9:20 a.m. - Pegasus is go for avionics internal power.

Watch as George Diller interviews ST5 Project Manager Art Azarbarzin.
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9:17 a.m. - NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale is polling his team after reporting that no issues are being worked and weather is good. The NASA team is ready.

The ST5 satellites will be placed into a highly elliptical polar orbit of 186 miles by 2,796 miles. The orbital period will be 2 hours 16 minutes in full sunlight, so the spacecraft will complete 10.5 orbits of the earth each day.

9:16 a.m. - The launch window is GO and the launch weather officer reports that weather is "green," or favorable.

9:12 a.m. - FTS is on internal power and Orbital Launch Conductor Adam Lewis is now polling to check the functionality of the system. The team is "go," and the checks are good.

9:11 a.m. - The release arm has been activated. Orbital Sciences Launch Conductor Adam Lewis has polled his team and they are ready for the flight termination system (FTS) to go to internal power.

Watch as George Diller interviews NASA Mission Integration Manager Garret Skrobot.
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9:07 a.m. - The L-1011 has just reached 39,000 feet altitude, where it is flying the racetrack pattern. In the last 90 seconds, the Pegasus' fin batteries will be activated and some steering checks will be performed. When the fin batteries are activated, there's no turning back -- those batteries have a short life span.

9:06 a.m. - T-19 minute 33 seconds and counting.

Did you know? ST5 is part of the New Millennium Program which was created to develop and test critical and revolutionary technologies for future missions.

8:57 a.m. - All steps of the climb/cruise checklist have been completed, and the Stargazer L-1011 has reached the drop box.

8:56 a.m. - Orbital Launch Conductor Adam Lewis has just informed the team that there will be no visual inspections by the chase plane for today's launch.

8:52 a.m. - T-32 minutes and counting down to the launch of the Pegasus rocket carrying ST5 and its three miniature spacecraft.

8:38 a.m. - T-46 minutes and counting towards the scheduled 9:27 a.m. launch of the Pegasus rocket. The L-1011 is heading toward the drop box and will fly a "racetrack" pattern to the precise place in the box where the rocket will be dropped.

8:27 a.m. - Wheels-up! Right on time, the L-1011 is airborne. This completes the pre-launch checklist.
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Did you know? ST5's primary focus is to flight test its miniaturized satellites and innovative technologies in Earth's magnetosphere and their ability to perform research-quality science.

8:24 a.m. - Orbital Sciences Launch Conductor Adam Lewis is polling the ground launch team. The team is "go" for takeoff.

8:23 a.m. - Ready for takeoff! NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale just polled his team and the "go" was given to proceed. The chase plane is airborne.

8:22 a.m. - The pre-takeoff checklist has begun and the instrument recorder and video recorder have been turned on.

8:21 a.m. - A chase plane will take off at 8:23 so that it can be in position for a clear view of the L-1011 as it takes off and heads toward the drop box.

Watch as George Diller interviews Mission Directors Center Operations Director Steve Cox.
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8:15 a.m. - The nose hook pressure issue that prompted a slight delay this morning has been resolved with a change in the requirements for today's operation. The new wheels-up time is 8:27 a.m., followed by a new drop time of 9:25 a.m.
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8:02 a.m. - At about T-1 hour and counting, Launch Conductor Adam Lewis of Orbital Sciences has briefed the team about an engineering issue awaiting resolution. There will be a new wheels up and drop time shortly.

Did you know? This mission will last 90 days and complete each orbit in 2 hours and 16 minutes.

Launch Services Video: ST5 Coast to Coast
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7:54 a.m. - In the pre-dawn darkness, the L-1011 is taxing down runway 30 at Vandenberg Air Force Base before it takes off from the California coast and out over the Pacific Ocean. Once it takes off, they'll begin their climb out to an altitude of 39,000 feet. We are still targeting a 8:04 departure time, but we are waiting to confirm that.

7:50 a.m. - The Stargazer has begun its taxi to the end of the runway.
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7:46 a.m. - We're at T-1 hour, 15 minutes and counting until the launch of ST5. Before the Stargazer can taxi, the team is awaiting some engineering analysis by the engineering team. In the drop box, the area where the Pegasus will be released, weather is favorable with clear ceilings and unlimited visibility. Should we have to delay launch, there is a 40% chance of a weather violation tomorrow.

7:30 a.m. - Good morning and welcome to live coverage of today's launch of a Pegasus rocket carrying ST5's three micro-satellites. Takeoff is scheduled for 8:04 a.m. with the Pegasus drop scheduled about an hour later at 9:02 a.m. Below are events that took place before this morning's live coverage began.
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7:17 a.m. - A voice check with Flight Systems is underway.

7:09 a.m. - The launch team is conducting voice checks on the "countdown net," one of several communications channels used by launch personnel.

7:03 a.m. - Pilot Bill Weaver and Co-pilot Don Moor are in command of the Stargazer L-1011 for today's launch. Their flight engineer is Bob Taylor. Weaver reports that the vehicle closeout is complete and that the L-1011 is ready to taxi.

6:53 a.m. - Stargazer's engines one and three are started in anticipation of takeoff. The pre-taxi checklist is performed by Orbital Launch Conductor Adam Lewis.

6:43 a.m. - The external nitrogen supply is disconnected from the aircraft, the stairs for the crew are removed and the door is closed.

6:42 a.m. - Stargazer's number two engine is started.

6:40 a.m. - The L-1011 carrier aircraft known as the "Stargazer" is on the "hot pad" at Vandenberg Air Force Base awaiting takeoff at 8:04 a.m. The ground team is polled in preparation for start of the Stargazer's three engines. Range, vehicle, Pegasus, Orbital Sciences, and NASA Launch Manager Chuck Dovale all give their "go" for engine start.

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