JPSS-1 Launch Confirmed for Saturday

The Delta II rocket set to launch NOAA's JPSS-1 spacecraft stands at Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The Delta II rocket set to launch NOAA’s JPSS-1 spacecraft stands at Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in this photo taken Nov. 13. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 mission for NASA and NOAA is confirmed on the Western Range for Saturday, Nov. 18. The launch time is 1:47 a.m. PST (4:47 a.m. EST).

Join us for updates from the countdown beginning at 1:15 a.m. PST (4:15 a.m. EST) on the JPSS-1 Launch Blog and on NASA TV.

JPSS-1 Launch Status

A ULA Delta II rocket carrying NOAA's JPSS-1 spacecraft stands poised for launch.
Photo courtesy of ULA

NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 spacecraft will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex 2 at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. Launch managers are working to determine a launch date after today’s planned liftoff was scrubbed due to upper-level winds.

Visit https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/jpss-1 or follow https://twitter.com/noaasatellites and https://twitter.com/nasa for launch status updates.

JPSS-1 Launch Scrubbed for Today

The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II carrying the JPSS-1 mission for NASA and NOAA was scrubbed today due to a red range and a late launch vehicle alarm. Due to the short window there was insufficient time to fully coordinate a resolution.

The launch is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 15, from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The launch time is 1:47 a.m. PT.

Delta II, JPSS-1 Satellite Poised for Launch

The tower rolls away from the Delta II rocket set to launch NOAA's JPSS-1 spacecraft.
In this photo taken Nov. 13, the tower has rolled away from the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket at Space Launch Complex 2 at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. The rocket now is poised to boost the JPSS-1 satellite to a polar orbit. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

The tower at Space Launch Complex 2 was rolled back late yesterday, leaving the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket and NOAA’s JPSS-1 satellite poised for liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Liftoff is scheduled for 1:47:35 a.m. PST today. Live countdown coverage begins at 1:15 a.m. on the JPSS-1 Launch Blog and on NASA TV.

JPSS-1 Marches Toward Launch

Packaged in a protective container, the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, spacecraft is about to be mated atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket at Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Packaged in a protective container, the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, spacecraft is about to be mated atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket at Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Built by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colorado, JPSS is the first in a series four next-generation environmental satellites in a collaborative program between the NOAA and NASA. Liftoff is scheduled to take place from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 2. Photo credit: NASA/USAF 30th Space Wing

Mission and launch officials for NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) have convened today at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in preparation for the satellite’s upcoming launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket.

Packaged in a protective container, the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, spacecraft is about to be mated atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket at Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Photo credit: NASA/USAF 30th Space Wing

During its time in the Astrotech Payload Processing Facility, JPSS-1 has undergone a series of routine prelaunch tests and checkouts, followed by mating to the Payload Attach Fitting and transport to the launch pad, where the Delta II rocket stood already assembled. The spacecraft then was hoisted into  position atop the rocket. Also installed were a trio of Poly-Picosat Orbital Deployers, or P-PODs, which will deploy a host of small CubeSat payloads after the JPSS-1 satellite is released to begin its mission. The entire payload has been enclosed within the two-piece fairing that will protect it during the climb to space.

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Pegasus Rocket Prepared for NASA’s ICON Mission

The Pegasus XL rocket second and third stages arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The second and third stages of the Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket were offloaded from a transport vehicle at Building 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Photo credit: Randy Beaudoin

Orbital ATK’s Pegasus XL rocket is being prepared to launch NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON mission. The rocket is being prepared in a facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.

The rocket’s second and third stages, first stage motor and wing arrived at VAFB and were transported to Building 1555 for processing.

ICON will launch aboard Pegasus from the Kwajalein Atoll, part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean, on Dec. 9, 2017 (in the continental United States the launch date is Dec. 8).

ICON will study the frontier of space — the dynamic zone high in Earth’s atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather above. The explorer will help determine the physics of Earth’s space environment and pave the way for mitigating its effects on our technology, communications systems and society.

The Pegasus XL wing arrives at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Workers transfer the wing for the Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket from a truck to a forklift at Building 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Photo credit: Randy Beaudoin

JPSS-1 Begins Final Preflight Processing

NOAA's Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, remains wrapped in a protective covering after removal from its shipping container at the Astrotech Processing Facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The spacecraft is being prepared for its upcoming liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex-2W. JPSS-1 is the first in a series four next-generation environmental satellites in a collaborative program between NOAA and NASA.
NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, remains wrapped in a protective covering after removal from its shipping container at the Astrotech Processing Facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The spacecraft is being prepared for its upcoming liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-2W. JPSS-1 is the first in a series four next-generation environmental satellites in a collaborative program between NOAA and NASA. Photo credit: NASA/Rodney Speed

NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 spacecraft has been removed from its shipping container in the Astrotech Payload Processing Facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where it is being prepared for its upcoming launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket.

The JPSS-1 satellite will go through a series of routine inspections, checkouts and testing before it is sealed inside the payload fairing and placed atop the Delta II rocket, already standing at Space Launch Complex-2W. Launch remains scheduled for Nov. 10.

NOAA’s JPSS-1 Satellite Arrives in California for Launch

Above and below right: The Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, arrives at the Astrotech Processing Facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. JPSS is the first in a series four next-generation environmental satellites in a collaborative program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA. The satellite is scheduled to liftoff later this year atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Photo credits: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) satellite arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sept. 1, 2017, to begin preparations for a November launch.

After its arrival, the JPSS-1 spacecraft was pulled from its shipping container, and is being prepared for encapsulation on top of the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket that will take it to its polar orbit at an altitude of 512 miles (824 km) above Earth. JPSS-1 is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-2 on Nov. 10 at 1:47 a.m. PST.

NOAA partnered with NASA to implement the JPSS series of U.S. civilian polar-orbiting environmental remote sensing satellites and sensors. JPSS-1 has a seven-year design life and is the first in a series of NOAA’s four next-generation, polar-orbiting weather satellites.

For more information, please visit www.jpss.noaa.gov.

NASA’s Newest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Arrives in Orbit

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Sandra Joseph

The constellation of satellites charged with maintaining critical communications between NASA’s Space Network and Earth-orbiting spacecraft is about to be expanded by one.

Joining the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) System is TDRS-M, the third and final in a series of third-generation TDRS spacecraft that have taken their places in orbit in recent years. TDRS-M launched this morning aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket with a liftoff at 8:29 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41. (Read NASA’s Launch Blog)

With light winds, few clouds and temperatures in the low 80s, weather posed no threat to launch. The countdown proceeded smoothly throughout the early morning hours and into propellant-loading operations, when engineers noted an issue with the Centaur upper stage’s liquid oxygen (LOX) chilldown system.

“As we were chilling the Centaur engine down, we noticed one of the chilldown parameters on the thermal conditioning for the LOX side was not quite getting cold enough” in time to permit liftoff at 8:03 a.m., when the 40-minute launch window opened, NASA Launch Manager Tim Dunn explained.

Just before sunrise at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket vents liquid oxygen propellant vapors during fueling for the lift off of NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M. The team methodically worked to resolve the issue while maximizing that window of opportunity, and the issue was resolved in time for launch officials to set up for a successful liftoff at 8:29 a.m.

Photo at right: Just before sunrise at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket vents liquid oxygen propellant vapors during fueling for the lift off of NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M. Photo credit: NASA/Kenneth Allen

TDRS-M’s predecessors, TDRS-K and TDRS-L, also launched on Atlas V rockets from the same launch complex in January 2013 and January 2014, respectively. Today’s launch marked the 72nd liftoff of an Atlas V.

More than an hour and a half after launch, the TDRS-M spacecraft separated from the rocket’s Centaur upper stage, heralding the end of the launch effort and the mission’s beginning. Following several months of calibration and testing, TDRS-M will be renamed TDRS-13, and it will be eligible to begin supporting NASA’s Space Network.

“Spacecraft separation is the best part of the launch campaign,” Dunn said. “So many hours are put into getting to this exact point when you know you have a healthy satellite that just separated from the launch vehicle, about to go do its intended mission.”

For further updates, visit http://www.nasa.gov/tdrs.

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