NOAA’s DSCOVR spacecraft is about the size of a refrigerator before its solar panels are unfolded. It measures 5.4 feet by 6 feet and weighs 1,256 pounds. It carries five instruments, three from NOAA and two from NASA.
5:38:32 p.m. Terminal countdown poll
5:43:32 p.m. Power to DSCOVR
5:45:32 p.m. DSCOVR poll
5:48:32 p.m. Mission Director terminal countdown poll
5:50:32 p.m. Launch Conductor terminal count poll
5:50:32 p.m. SpaceX terminal count poll
5:53:32 p.m. Terminal count autosequence
5:55:32 p.m. DSCOVR to internal power
5:56:32 p.m. DSCOVR poll
5:58:32 p.m. Mission Director poll
5:58:32 p.m. DSCOVR transition to internal power complete
6:00:32 p.m. Launch vehicle status check
6:01:02 p.m. Go for launch
6:01:32 p.m. Range “Green”
6:03:32 p.m. Launch
6:06:16 p.m. First stage cutoff
6:06:20 p.m. Stage 1 jettison
6:06:27 p.m. Second stage ignition
6:07:08 p.m. Fairing jettisoned
6:12:16 p.m. Second stage engine cutoff (SECO) begins 22-minute coast phase
6:33:41 p.m. Second stage engine restart (58 seconds)
6:34:39 p.m. Second stage engine cutoff-2 (SECO-2)
6:38:40 p.m. DSCOVR spacecraft separation
6:40:12 p.m. DSCOVR solar array deploy
6:44:51 p.m. DSCOVR power positive
If the DSCOVR launch does not occur today, the next chance will not come until Feb. 20. That is because the moon’s position in space will interfere with the spacecraft’s flight path to deep space.
The DSCOVR mission is the first by SpaceX to deliver a spacecraft to deep space. The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket will set DSCOVR on a path to reach the L1 point about a million miles from Earth. It will take DSCOVR about 110 days to reach its destination and begins observations of Earth and the sun.
Mike McAleenan of the 45th Weather Squadron says the weather is nearly perfect at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida as we count toward the liftoff of NOAA’s DSCOVR mission atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket is being fueled right now and the countdown remains on schedule for a 6:03 p.m. EST launch.
Good evening from Florida! We are making the third launch attempt today for the DSCOVR spacecraft, an observatory that will serve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Launch time this evening is 6:03 p.m. EST and the launch window is instantaneous. All conditions are go right now and the weather forecast calls for a 90 percent chance of continued acceptable conditions. The upper level winds that caused a scrub of Tuesday’s attempt are now “go” as well.
DSCOVR also carries two NASA instruments that will be used in the agency’s ongoing work to study changes on our home planet. The spacecraft is destined for an orbit about a million miles from Earth called L1. At that position, the Earth’s gravity balances against the sun’s gravity and an object can remain in a steady orbit.
At T-2 hours, 46 minutes, SpaceX Falcon 9 fueling operations are under way at Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. There are no technical issues and there is a 90 percent chance for favorable weather at the planned liftoff time of 6:03:32 p.m. EST. Upper level winds remain “Green.”
Launching NOAA’s DSCOVR is the primary mission for SpaceX. A secondary objective was to land the first stage booster on a drone ship stationed northeast of the launch pad. SpaceX posted a statement that it will not be able to attempt recovery of the first stage:
“SpaceX is still tracking towards a 6:03 p.m. EST liftoff of DSCOVR, but unfortunately we will not be able to attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9. The drone ship was designed to operate in all but the most extreme weather. We are experiencing just such weather in the Atlantic with waves reaching up to three stories in height crashing over the decks. Also, only three of the drone ship’s four engines are functioning, making station-keeping in the face of such wave action extremely difficult. The rocket will still attempt a soft landing in the water through the storm (producing valuable landing data), but survival is highly unlikely.”
Managers overseeing launch preparations of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and NOAA’s DSCOVR have given a “go” for propellant loading. The operation is scheduled to take place at T-3 hours, about 3:03 p.m. EST. Liquid oxygen and RP-1, a rocket-grade kerosene, will be fed into separate tanks aboard each of the Falcon’s two stages.
Weather remains 90 percent “go” and there are no technical issues that would prevent the launch of DSCOVR at 6:03:32 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida.
Tuesday’s launch attempt of NOAA’s DSCOVR spacecraft aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was scrubbed because upper level winds were outside of limits established to ensure safe flight through the atmosphere. Today, data from the first weather balloon are characterized as “dramatically improved” and upper level winds currently are “Green.” As on Tuesday, managers and engineers will evaluate data from several weather balloons throughout the day and make a final decision prior to entering the terminal countdown at T-10 minutes. There is a 90 percent chance that launch weather will be “go” for launch at 6:03:32 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
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.