Go for Tanking – Upper Level Winds Red

Managers overseeing the launch of NOAA’s DSCOVR spacecraft on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket have given a “Go” to begin loading the rocket’s first and second stages with propellant. The process is expected to begin at L-3 hours, or 3:05 p.m. EST.

There is an 80 percent chance for favorable launch weather conditions and there are no technical issues.

During every launch countdown a series of weather balloons is dispatched to measure upper level winds through which the vehicle flies on its way to orbit. Maximum upper-level winds today are forecast to be from the northwest at 90 knots near 30,000 feet. At the current time, upper level winds are “red.” Engineers will evaluate the weather balloon data throughout the count to assess whether the rocket can safely maneuver through the dynamic wind conditions. A final assessment will be made prior to the L-13 minute terminal countdown poll.

Forecast: 80 Percent ‘Go’ for 6:05 p.m. Liftoff

earth-fulldiscForecasters upgraded today’s expected weather to 80 percent chance of favorable conditions for the launch of NOAA’s DSCOVR spacecraft at 6:05 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. A SpaceX Falcon 9 will place the spacecraft on a course to L1, an area about a million miles from Earth where DSCOVR will observe the sun and the Earth. Should it be necessary to attempt launch on Wednesday, the forecast calls for a 90 percent chance of favorable weather.

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.  DSCOVR will succeed NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) in supporting solar observations and provide 15- to 60-minute warning time to improve predictions of geomagnetic storm impact locations.

Continuous countdown coverage on the Blog and on NASA TV begins at 5 p.m. EST for the launch at 6:05:34 p.m. Here are some of the milestones today leading up to launch and then seeing DSCOVR delivered on its correct path to space.

1:05:34 p.m.           Launch Pad clear complete
1:25:34 p.m.           Weather briefing
2:35:34 p.m.           Falcon 9 ready for propellant load
2:46:34 p.m.           Tanking polls
3:05:34 p.m.           Propellant load begins
3:20:34 p.m.           RF checks
3:35:34 p.m.           First motion checks
4:20:34 p.m.           Flight Termination System checks
4:35:34 p.m.           Launch vehicle provided power activated
5 p.m.                     NASA Television and Launch Blog coverage begins
5:05:34 p.m.           T-1 hour weather briefing
5:40:34 p.m.           Terminal countdown poll
5:45:34 p.m.           Power to DSCOVR
5:47:34 p.m.           DSCOVR poll
5:50:34 p.m.           Mission Director terminal countdown poll
5:52:34 p.m.           Launch Conductor terminal count poll
5:52:34 p.m.           SpaceX terminal count poll
5:55:34 p.m.           Terminal count autosequence
5:57:34 p.m.           DSCOVR to internal power
5:58:34 p.m.           DSCOVR poll
6:00:34 p.m.           Mission Director poll
6:00:34 p.m.           DSCOVR transition to internal power complete
6:02:34 p.m.           Launch vehicle status check
6:03:04 p.m.           Go for launch
6:03:34 p.m.           Range “Green”
6:05:34 p.m.           Launch
6:08:18 p.m.           First stage cutoff
6:08:22 p.m.           Stage 1 jettison
6:08:29 p.m.           Second stage ignition
6:09:10 p.m.           Fairing jettisoned
6:14:18 p.m.           Second stage engine cutoff (SECO) begins 22-minute coast phase
6:35:43 p.m.           Second stage engine restart (58 seconds)
6:36:41 p.m.           Second stage engine cutoff-2 (SECO-2)
6:40:42 p.m.           DSCOVR spacecraft separation
6:42:14 p.m.           DSCOVR solar array deploy
6:46:53 p.m.           DSCOVR power positive

Tuesday’s Launch Weather Forecast: 70 Percent ‘Go’

There is a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for the launch of DSCOVR at 6:05 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The primary concern is for winds at liftoff out of limits. The NOAA spacecraft is targeted to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Continuous countdown coverage for DSCOVR will begin here on the blog and on NASA TV at 5 p.m.

Next Launch Try for DSCOVR: Tuesday 6:05 p.m.

NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Air Force and SpaceX have issued the following statement:

“The next launch attempt for the DSCOVR mission will now be Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 6:05 p.m. EST with a backup launch opportunity on Wednesday, Feb 11 at 6:03 p.m. Weather for an attempt on Monday, Feb 9 is unfavorable. If that attempt were to scrub for weather, we would lose either the Tuesday or Wednesday launch opportunity due to crew rest requirements for the Air Force.  Teams will target launch on Tuesday with a backup of Wednesday as weather is more favorable on both of those days.  While it is not required for flight, SpaceX will leverage the extra time to replace a video transmitter on the first stage in advance of the next attempt.”