Terminal Countdown Polling Underway

T-27 minutes and counting – The teams of engineers and launch managers from the spacecraft, rocket and mission sides of the DSCOVR partners are conducting their polls to proceed with the final phase of today’s countdown, known as the Terminal Countdown. The mission director and launch conductor will conduct their own polls in about 10 minutes.

Countdown Milestones

Here’s a rundown of the next hour or so as the launch teams make the final preps for launch, followed by the liftoff and ascent of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as it places NOAA’s DSCOVR spacecraft on course for its L1 location about a million miles from Earth.

5:45:12 p.m.           Terminal countdown poll
5:50:12 p.m.           Power to DSCOVR
5:52:12 p.m.           DSCOVR poll
5:55:12 p.m.           Mission Director terminal countdown poll
5:57:12 p.m.           Launch Conductor terminal count poll
5:57:12 p.m.           SpaceX terminal count poll
6:00:12 p.m.           Terminal count autosequence
6:02:12 p.m.           DSCOVR to internal power
6:03:12 p.m.           DSCOVR poll
6:05:12 p.m.           Mission Director poll
6:05:12 p.m.           DSCOVR transition to internal power complete
6:07:12 p.m.           Launch vehicle status check
6:07:42 p.m.           Go for launch
6:08:12 p.m.           Range “Green”
6:10:12 p.m.           Launch
6:12:56 p.m.           First stage cutoff
6:13:00 p.m.           Stage 1 jettison
6:13:07 p.m.           Second stage ignition
6:13:48 p.m.           Fairing jettisoned
6:18:56 p.m.           Second stage engine cutoff (SECO) begins 22-minute coast phase
6:40:21 p.m.           Second stage engine restart (58 seconds)
6:41:19 p.m.           Second stage engine cutoff-2 (SECO-2)
6:45:20 p.m.           DSCOVR spacecraft separation
6:46:52 p.m.           DSCOVR solar array deploy
6:51:31 p.m.           DSCOVR power positive

The Sun is Shining and the Rocket is ‘Go’

The weather is now 100 percent ‘go’, reports Mike McAleenan of the 45th Space Wing as he delivered an overwhelmingly positive launch forecast. With less than an hour to go before liftoff at 6:10 p.m. EST today, there are not technical issues with NOAA’s DSCOVR spacecraft nor with the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will launch it.


Look for EPIC Views from DSCOVR

earth-fulldiscAlthough DSCOVR is a spacecraft for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration better known as NOAA, NASA has placed two instruments including a camera dubbed EPIC that will be able to see the entire sunlit side of Earth as demonstrated in the picture to the right. You can read a lot more about the EPIC instrument here, along with how it plays into NASA’s work to find out about changes on Earth right now.

Liquid Oxygen Loading Continues

Awesome-Venting-1The Merlin engines powering the SpaceX Falcon 9 run on kerosene and liquid oxygen. Ground controllers are overseeing the loading of cryogenic liquid oxygen this afternoon aboard the rocket. The propellant is super cold, measuring minus-297 degrees F. As the Falcon rocket sits at the pad, a portion of the propellant warms up enough to turn into a gas.