Less than five minutes away from SMAP spacecraft separation.
The Delta II rocket’s second-stage engine reignited for its second burn, which lasted the expected 12 seconds, and shut down on time.
Controllers are beginning to see the second stage go though some maneuvers to prepare for the second stage engine’s second restart. It will burn for only about 12 seconds, and at that point there will be another five-minute coast phase before SMAP separation, expected at 10:18:51 a.m. EST.
SMAP is managed for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, with instrument hardware and science contributions made by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. JPL built the spacecraft and is responsible for project management, system engineering, radar instrumentation, mission operations and the ground data system. Goddard is responsible for the radiometer instrument and science data products. Both centers collaborate on science data processing and delivery to the Alaska Satellite Facility, in Fairbanks, and the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder. NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
The United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket carrying NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive observatory launches from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California at 9:22 a.m. EST on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The rocket’s second stage engine shut down as scheduled nearly 11 minutes, marking the beginning of a 40-minute coast phase. That engine will reignite at 10:13:38 a.m. EST for a 12-second burn to place SMAP in its proper orbit.
Now more than five minutes into flight, the protective payload fairing enclosing the SMAP spacecraft has separated and fallen away.
Main engine cutoff and separation. Second-stage burn in progress, will last a little more than six minutes.
The rocket’s three spent solid rocket motors have been released. The first-stage burn continues until main engine cutoff, or MECO, nearly four and a half minutes into the flight.
Telemetry Officer Steve Agid of United Launch Alliance is reporting a good performance from the Delta II as it continues to accelerate.