Orbital ATK CRS-4 Liftoff Scrubbed Due to Weather

Because of thick clouds and precipitation that violated the weather rules for launching, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance have postponed the planned launch of the Atlas V rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft. It is Orbital ATK’s fourth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station.

The next 30-minute launch window opens tomorrow, Dec. 4, at 5:33:11 p.m. EST. The chance of favorable weather for the next launch is 30 percent. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. and can be viewed online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

New Launch Time; 10 Percent Chance of ‘Go’ Weather

Launch managers now are targeting 6:25:45 p.m. EST for the liftoff of the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Weather is the concern; the thick cloud rule and disturbed weather rule are preventing launch. The probability of unfavorable weather preventing launch currently is 90 percent.

Atlas V Cryo Tanking in Progress; Weather Deteriorating

Rain is visible on the camera lens at Space Launch Complex 41 where Atlas V awaits liftoffThe countdown is progressing smoothly and cryogenic tanking is in progress. However, weather forecasters have downgraded the prediction for today’s 30-minute launch opportunity to a 30 percent chance of acceptable conditions as a result of increasing thick and cumulus clouds.

Photo credit: NASA TV

Atlas V Rocket Arrives at the Pad

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket set to launch the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station is in place at Space Launch Complex 41The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is in place at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Sealed inside the payload fairing atop the rocket is the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft filled with science, crew supplies and equipment bound for the International Space Station.

Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

Kennedy Emergency Response Team Hones Skills at Annual SWAT Round-up International

Members of NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Emergency Response Team take off running during a challenge at the 33rd annual SWAT Round-up International in Orlando, Fla.NASA’s Protective Services organization is tasked with protecting one-of-a-kind facilities and a world-class workforce at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Ensuring the safety and security of this 144,000-acre, multi-user spaceport allows agency programs to stay focused on mission success.

One of NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Emergency Response Team members scales the outside wall of a concrete tower at the 33rd annual SWAT Round-up International in Orlando, Fla.It’s a 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year job that demands constant training for any number of real-life scenarios. Last week, eight members of Kennedy Space Center’s Emergency Response Team took part in the 33rd annual SWAT Round-up International alongside 60 other teams from across the country and around the world.

“The entire week is very physically demanding and challenging. The teams competing in these events are all very good and some dedicate much of their training time specifically for this competition,” explained Emergency Response Team Commander Bill Young of Chenega Security and Support Solutions.

Although the Kennedy team does train specifically for the competition in the weeks leading up to the five-day event, it spends the vast majority of the year focusing on protecting the spaceport.

“Our training time is spent on site preparing for responses to potential critical incidents that might occur here,” Young said, pointing out that the greatest benefit to participating in the annual Round-up is the chance to meet and work with other teams.

“With the threats and challenges that exist for law enforcement today, it’s short sighted to think any SWAT team can handle it all alone,” Young said.

“The ability for our officers to effectively communicate and even integrate with other teams during a crisis is a force multiplier for our Protective Services, which benefits our center and the entire community.”

Photos by NASA/Kim Shiflett

Cygnus Propellants Loaded; Team Prepares for Final Cargo Installation

Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft inside the PHSFOrbital ATK technicians have finished loading fuel and oxidizer into the Cygnus service module and are already preparing to remove the hatch and rotate the spacecraft from vertical to horizontal inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The move will allow team members to pack away late-stow cargo items bound for the International Space Station.

The spacecraft will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on the company’s fourth commercial resupply flight to the orbiting laboratory. Photo by NASA/Kim Shiflett.

Cygnus Spacecraft Moves to PHSF, Begins Early Preps for Propellant Loading

The Cygnus spacecraft that will carry nearly 6,000 pounds of cargo on the next U.S. resupply flight to the International Space Station moved late yesterday from the Space Station Processing Facility to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Today it moves into the building’s high bay, where it will be uncovered, removed from atop its transporter, and placed into a work stand to begin preparations for propellant loading next week.

Developed and built by Orbital ATK, the Cygnus comprises the pressurized cargo module and attached service module, which houses the solar arrays and propulsion system. The spacecraft is set to deliver equipment, supplies and research to the station on the company’s fourth Commercial Resupply Services flight.

Launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V is scheduled for Dec. 3 from Space Launch Complex 41 at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Centaur Upper Stage Arrives Ahead of Next Station Commercial Resupply Flight

A truck delivers the United Launch Alliance Centaur upper stage to the Horizontal Integration FacilityThe Centaur upper stage slated to help deliver the next U.S. cargo delivery to the International Space Station is on site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The upper stage will top the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket set to launch Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft on a flight to carry equipment, supplies and research to the orbiting laboratory in December.

Following its Tuesday afternoon arrival, the single-engine Centaur was transported into the Horizontal Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 37 to begin prelaunch processing.

The uncrewed flight will be Orbital’s fourth commercial resupply mission to the station. It is targeted for liftoff Dec. 3 from Space Launch Complex 41.

New Data Center Streamlines IT Infrastructure at Kennedy

Participating in the Kennedy Data Center ribbon-cutting are, from left, Ronnie Jones, Vice President of Operations, Sauer Incorporated; Nancy Bray, Director, Spaceport Integration and Services; Kelvin Manning, Associate Director of KSC; Vanessa Stromer, Director, IT and Communication Services; and Steve Belflower, Vice President, HuntonBrady Architects
Participating in the Kennedy Data Center ribbon-cutting are, from left, Ronnie Jones, Vice President of Operations, Sauer Incorporated; Nancy Bray, Director, Spaceport Integration and Services; Kelvin Manning, Associate Director of KSC; Vanessa Stromer, Director, IT and Communication Services; and Steve Belflower, Vice President, HuntonBrady Architects

Kennedy Space Center’s new data center is open for business.

Located in Kennedy’s Industrial Area, the facility officially was opened Thursday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by space center leaders and employees. The new data center marks another major milestone for Kennedy and is a key component in the spaceport’s capability to support multiple users, Kennedy Space Center Associate Director Kelvin Manning told the audience.

“The data center will support multiple activities – and we have a lot going on,” Manning said, citing the efforts of the Ground Systems Development and Operations Program, the Commercial Crew Program, the Launch Services Program, and Kennedy’s research and technology projects.

At only 16,000 square feet, the data center will replace approximately 45,000 square feet previously dedicated to five “legacy” data centers and IT support areas. Once the facility is fully operational, it will be three times more efficient than the legacy data centers, positioning the spaceport to take on even more work, according to Vanessa Stromer, director of IT and Communications Services at Kennedy.

Consolidating the data centers into a single new one provides streamlined IT operations, improved efficiency and round-the-clock support.

Nancy Bray, director of Spaceport Integration and Services at Kennedy, pointed out yet another benefit: reducing the Kennedy footprint enables the removal of aging buildings such as the 136,000-square-foot Central Instrumentation Facility, an Apollo-era building that for decades was the hub of instrumentation and data processing operations.

“Completion of the data center allows us to demolish older facilities,” said Bray, whose organization oversees the operations and maintenance of the spaceport’s infrastructure.

The new Kennedy data center is part of the first phase of construction on the spaceport’s new central campus and is on target to receive Silver certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system.

Umbilical Arm Load Testing Prep

A crane lifts the Interim Cryogenic Propulsive Stage Umbilical arm for NASA's Space Launch System at the Launch Equipment Test Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A crane lifts the Interim Cryogenic Propulsive Stage Umbilical (ICPSU) arm for NASA’s Space Launch System at the Launch Equipment Test Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The ICPSU is one of the umbilical arms that will be attached to the mobile launcher. The umbilical will be located at the about the 240-foot-level of the mobile launcher and will supply fuel, oxidizer, pneumatics, hazard gas leak detection, electrical commodities and environmental control systems to the interim cryogenic propulsive stage of the SLS rocket during launch.