NOAA’s DSCOVR is slated to launch today at 6:03:32 p.m. EST aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It is an instantaneous launch window. Our continuous countdown coverage will begin at 5 p.m. on NASA Television and here on the NASA Blog. There is a 90 percent chance for favorable launch weather and upper level winds are predicted to be much more favorable than on Tuesday.
Today’s launch opportunity is the final one before a “Moon Blackout” that begins Thursday and ends on Feb. 19. Because DSCOVR is traveling to deep space, the moon’s location on Feb. 12 through 19 would be close enough to DSCOVR to affect the spacecraft’s trajectory. This would require performing mid-course correction burns that would use more fuel than what is planned for the mission. After today, the next launch opportunity would be on Friday, Feb. 20, at 5:43:44 p.m. EST.
DSCOVR is a partnership between NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Air Force. The observatory will maintain the nation’s solar wind observations, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of NOAA’s space weather alerts, forecasts, and warnings. Space weather events like geomagnetic storms caused by changes in solar wind can affect public infrastructure systems, including power grids, telecommunications systems, and aircraft avionics.