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Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Aug 4, 2011 8:39 am via: NASA
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Spacecraft: Juno
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-551 (AV-029)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41
Launch Date: Aug. 5, 2011
Launch Window: 11:34 a.m. – 12:43 p.m. EDT

During the overnight hours of July 27, the Juno spacecraft was transported from the Astrotech payload processing facility near Kennedy Space Center to Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It officially was declared to be atop the Atlas V rocket at 10:42 a.m.

The “on-pad functional test,” a stand-alone spacecraft state of health test of Juno, successfully was conducted July 28. The “integrated systems test” to verify the connections between the spacecraft and the booster also was performed July 29.

The Flight Readiness Review was held July 29, and all work has been approved to proceed toward a launch on Aug. 5. There was then a final review, the Launch Readiness Review, on Aug. 3. At the conclusion of this review a “go” was given to continue preparations to move the Atlas V from the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 to the pad surface on the morning of Aug. 4. However, the weather will be reviewed before the move toward the launch pad begins to assure no significant change in the forecast and the track of Tropical Storm Emily.

The solar-powered Juno spacecraft will orbit Jupiter’s poles 33 times 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 Times: 8:37:06 a.m. and 9:16:12 a.m. EDT

At Astrotech, a solar array illumination test successfully was performed on GRAIL A and on GRAIL B on July 28. The spacecraft were moved to a hazardous processing facility July 30 to begin preparations for fueling. Loading of the propellants into the two spacecraft is scheduled for Aug. 2-3.

At NASA’s Space Launch Complex 17B, the Delta II successfully completed the Combined Systems Test on July 27. This is a simulated flight of the rocket.

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

Spacecraft: NPP (NPOESS Preparatory Project)

Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7920
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 2
Launch Date: Oct. 25, 2011
Launch Window: 5:47:35 a.m. – 5:57:35 a.m. EDT

At Space Launch Complex 2, work to erect and attach the three solid rocket boosters to the first stage began July 27 and was completed Aug. 1. The second stage will be hoisted atop the first stage Aug. 2.

Spacecraft: Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-541 (AV-028)
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

Functional testing of the Curiosity rover mobility system, science instruments, and observation and camera systems is under way.

Testing of the Curiosity rover in scenarios of Mars surface operations temporarily were suspended July 28 after two instruments on the robotic arm were subjected to vibration greater than intended in the testing. Preliminary analysis determined that the vibration was less than what the instruments have been designed and previously tested to withstand. Testing of the rover resumed July 29 without issues.

The Atlas V rocket for the mission arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station by barge July 29 and was taken to the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center for checkout. It will be moved to Space Launch Complex 41 after the Juno launch. This is an Atlas V-541 configuration that will have four solid rocket boosters attached.

The rover’s 10 science instruments will search for clues about possible past life, including methane, and help determine if the gas is from a biological or geological source. 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.

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