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Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri May 13, 2011 9:11 am via: NASA
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Spacecraft: Aquarius
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7320
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 2
Launch Date: June 9, 2011
Launch Window: 7:20:13 – 7:25:13 a.m. PDT
Altitude/Inclination: 408.2 statute miles/98 degrees

At Vandenberg Air Force Base, loading the spacecraft with its attitude control propellant was done May 11. Thursday, the spacecraft is being mated to the payload attach fitting. The assembly later will mate to the Delta II rocket.

At NASA’s Space Launch Complex 2, the Delta II first stage was loaded with liquid oxygen and a countdown test conducted on May 11. Thursday, a Simulated Flight test is being run. This is an electrical and mechanical test of the launch vehicle’s systems that will be exercised in the same sequence as they will operate during the actual powered flight.

The Aquarius/SAC-D mission is a collaboration between NASA and Argentina’s space agency with participation by Brazil, Canada, France and Italy. NASA’s Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is managing the launch. United Launch Alliance of Denver, Colo., is NASA’s launch service provider of the Delta II 7320.

Spacecraft: Juno
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 551
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41
Launch Date: Aug. 5, 2011
Launch Time: 11:40 a.m. EDT

This week a cruise system verification test was conducted, and a Jupiter orbit insertion system verification test was also completed. The work to install the three solar arrays begins May 13. Later in processing, the magnetometer will be installed; a solar array illumination test and a magnetometer boom deployment test also are planned.

The solar-powered Juno spacecraft will orbit Jupiter’s poles to find out more about the gas giant’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

Spacecraft: GRAIL (Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7920 Heavy
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 17B
Launch Date: Sept. 8, 2011
Launch Time: 8:37:06 a.m. and 9:16:12 a.m. EDT

At NASA’s Space Launch Complex 17B, the second stage was hoisted atop the first stage of the Delta II rocket on May 10. The payload fairing is being raised into the white room of the mobile service tower today. The launch vehicle electrical, mechanical and propulsion system testing will begin on May 20. The solid rocket motor thruster installation and alignment has been completed.

GRAIL’s primary science objectives will be to determine the structure of the lunar interior, from crust to core, and to advance understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon.

Spacecraft: Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-541
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41
Launch Date: Nov. 25, 2011
Launch Time: 10:21 a.m. EST

The cruise stage, back shell and heat shield for the Mars Science Laboratory payload arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility aboard an Air Force C-17 cargo plane on Thursday evening. These are the first flight elements to arrive for the Mars Science Laboratory mission. These elements were taken to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF) located in the KSC Industrial Area to begin processing. The Curiosity rover will arrive next month.

The rover’s 10 science instruments will search for habitable environments on Mars that could support life, past or present. The unique rover will use a laser to look inside rocks and release the gasses so that its spectrometer can analyze and send the data back to Earth, as well as sophisticated chemistry experiments and high-powered microscopes.

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