Falcon 9 Rolled to Launch Pad for Jason-3

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is rolled to Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California ahead of the Jason-3 launchThe SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is rolled to Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California ahead of the Jason-3 launchThe SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rolled from a hangar at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to Space Launch Complex 4 on Friday, Jan. 15 and was raised into the vertical position on the launch pad at 11:11 a.m. PST today. The launch vehicle will boost the Jason-3 satellite to orbit. It will be the fourth in a series of spacecraft providing scientists with essential information about global and regional changes in the seas. Built by Thales Alenia of France, Jason-3 will measure the topography of the ocean surface for a four-agency international partnership consisting of NOAA, NASA, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, France’s space agency, and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.

Liftoff is targeted for 10:42:18 a.m. PST / 1:42:18 p.m. EST on Sunday from Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Join us right here for updates from the countdown beginning at 8 a.m. PST / 11 a.m. EST.
Photo credit: SpaceX

Jason-3 Launch Readiness Review Complete

The Jason-3 Launch Readiness Review is complete at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and NASA Television will broadcast two news conferences beginning at 4 p.m. PST/7 p.m. EST. For the full rundown of participants in each event, visit http://go.nasa.gov/1UVuiP3.

Jason-3 is targeted for liftoff atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 10:42:18 a.m. PST/1:42:18 p.m. EST on Sunday from Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg.

Jason-3 Spacecraft Mated to Falcon 9 Rocket

The Jason-3 spacecraft has been mated to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 4 on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The spacecraft and rocket will be rolled horizontally to the launch pad later today and raised to vertical on Saturday. The Launch Readiness Review is under way today at Vandenberg.

Weather forecasters from the U.S. Air Force 30th Weather Squadron continue to predict a 100 percent chance of favorable weather at the opening of a 30-second launch window at 10:42:18 a.m. PST on Sunday, Jan. 17.

Tune in for today’s Jason-3 Mission Science Briefing and prelaunch news conference starting at 4 p.m. PST (7 p.m. EST). Both events will be carried live on NASA Television and streamed online at www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Jason-3 Spacecraft Batteries Charged

At Vandenberg Air Force Base is California, the Jason-3 spacecraft batteries have been charged and the satellite is scheduled to be mated to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket today. Other prelaunch preparations continue at Space Launch Complex 4 for a launch on Sunday, Jan. 17. The 30-second launch window opens at 10:42:18 a.m. PST. The Launch Readiness Review is scheduled to be held on Friday.

Jason-3 is an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue U.S.- European satellite measurements of the topography of the ocean surface. It will continue the ability to monitor and precisely measure global sea surface heights, monitor the intensification of tropical cyclones and support seasonal and coastal forecasts. Jason-3 data also will benefit fisheries management, marine industries and research into human impacts on the world’s oceans. The mission is planned to last at least three years, with a goal of five years.

Jason-3 is a four-agency international partnership consisting of NOAA, NASA, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, France’s space agency, and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. Thales Alenia of France built the spacecraft.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Static Fire Complete for Jason-3

At Space Launch Complex 4 on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the static test fire of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the upcoming Jason-3 launch was completed Monday at 5:35 p.m. PST, 8:35 p.m. EST. The first stage engines fired for the planned full duration of 7 seconds.  The initial review of the data appears to show a satisfactory test, but will be followed by a more thorough data review on Tuesday.  With this test complete, the next step in prelaunch preparations is to mate the rocket and the Jason-3 spacecraft, which is encapsulated in the payload fairing. This also is planned to occur as soon as Tuesday. 

Flight Readiness Review Gives “Go” to Proceed Toward Jan. 17 Launch

At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Flight Readiness Review for the Jason-3 mission is complete.  At its conclusion on Friday evening, managers determined that work should proceed toward a launch on Sunday, Jan. 17.  The static fire of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Space Launch Complex 4 now is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 11.  Meanwhile, the Jason-3 spacecraft was encapsulated into the Falcon 9 payload fairing on Friday.

A final review, the Launch Readiness Review, will be held at Vandenberg on Friday, Jan. 15.

The 30-second launch window on Jan. 17 opens at 10:42:18 a.m. PST.

Jason-3 Flight Readiness Review and Encapsulation Tomorrow; Static Fire Planned for Sunday

The first full week of 2016 has been a busy one for teams preparing NASA’s Jason-3 spacecraft for its upcoming launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Earth-observing satellite is scheduled to be sealed inside the rocket’s protective payload fairing tomorrow as launch and mission managers convene for the Flight Readiness Review. A static fire to test the Falcon 9’s first stage is planned for Sunday, Jan. 10, followed by mating of the spacecraft and payload fairing to the rocket on Jan. 12.

Steady El Nino rain on California’s central coast has made work challenging at Space Launch Complex 4 throughout the past four days, but launch remains scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 17 at 10:42:18 a.m. PST.

Jason-3 On Pace for Jan. 17 Liftoff

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Launch preparations continue at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for the launch of Jason-3 on January 17, 2016. At Space Launch Complex 4E, the next milestone is mating the first stage booster to the second stage which is currently planned to occur on Dec. 28.  The spacecraft, seen here after arriving at Vandenberg earlier this year, will be encapsulated into the payload fairing on Jan. 9, then mated to the rocket’s second stage on Jan. 12.

Insight Arrives at Vandenberg; First-Stage Booster at Pad

Sections of the fairing for NASA's InSight mission await further prelaunch processing
Sections of the fairing for NASA’s InSight mission await further prelaunch processing in the west high bay of the Astrotech Space Operations processing facility on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Photo credit: NASA/Joe Davila

The first stage booster of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket for NASA's InSight mission is ready for lifting into the mobile service tower at Space Launch Complex 3E.NASA’s Insight spacecraft is one step closer to beginning its journey to Mars now that it has arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The lander was delivered last night aboard a U.S. Air Force transport aircraft, then was offloaded and moved to the Astrotech payload processing facility. Today it is being removed from its shipping container. Meanwhile, at Space Launch Complex 3, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V first stage booster (pictured, right, photo credit NASA/Mark Mackley) was hoisted from its transport trailer into vertical position within the pad gantry.

Insight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will study processes that formed and shaped Mars. Its findings will improve understanding about the evolution of our inner solar system’s rocky planets, including Earth. The lander will be the first mission to permanently deploy instruments directly onto Martian ground using a robotic arm. The mission is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 3E in March 2016 and land on Mars in September 2016.

Engineers Attaching Jason-3 Spacecraft to Falcon 9 Rocket

Artist concept of Jason-3 in orbit with solar arrays deployed

At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, with the determination of a January 17, 2016, launch date for Jason-3, the spacecraft is being mated to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket today. Launch time is 10:42:18 a.m. PST. The electrical connections with the launch vehicle will be established tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 15.  Work to begin encapsulation into payload fairing will begin January 5.