NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) has successfully deployed at 3:57 a.m. EDT. GPIM will test a “green” alternative to hydrazine, a highly toxic propellant currently used by spacecraft, as well as a new propulsion system. If successful, this low toxicity fuel and system could replace hydrazine in future missions and ease handling during pre-launch processing.
The final NASA payload aboard the Space Test Program-2, hosted by the Air Force Research Lab’s Demonstration and Space Experiments spacecraft, will deploy in about two hours.
The Orbital Testbed satellite, with NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock onboard, has successfully deployed at 3:54 a.m. EDT. The Deep Space Atomic Clock is a technology demonstration that aims to change the way we navigate in space by making future spacecraft more autonomous. Built by the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the instrument will remain in low-Earth orbit for one year. For more information on this technology demonstration, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/five-things-to-know-about-nasas-deep-space-atomic-clock
NASA’s Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment (E-TBEx) is made up of twin cube satellites. They have successfully deployed from the rocket at 3:08 a.m. and 3:13 a.m. EDT. E-TBEx will measure the disruption of radio signals from natural-forming bubbles in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Understanding these disruptions and how to overcome them ultimately will improve the reliability of radio and GPS signals, which we rely on every day. For more information on this experiment, visit the E-TBEx website.
Launch preparations are underway, and we are still on track for liftoff at 2:30 a.m. for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission, managed by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Falcon Heavy will carry nearly two dozen satellites and technology experiments, including four NASA payloads, to space. Watch the SpaceX launch webcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Keep following the blog for updates on liftoff and the agency’s four payload deployments.
Today’s mission contains 24 satellites and technology experiments from a variety of government, military and research institutions aimed at improving life here on Earth and advancing the future of space exploration. Also on board are four NASA technology missions and payloads:
Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment (E-TBEx) – twin cube satellites (CubeSats) that will measure the disruption of radio signals from natural-forming bubbles in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Understanding these disruptions and how to overcome them ultimately will improve the reliability of radio and GPS signals, which we rely on so heavily.
Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) – a technology demonstration that aims to change the way we navigate our spacecraft by making the spacecraft more autonomous.
Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) – a “green” alternative to hydrazine, a highly toxic propellant currently used. If successful, this low-toxicity fuel could replace hydrazine in future vehicles and ease handling concerns.
Space Environment Testbeds (SET) – studies how to protect satellites in space by characterizing the harsh space environment near Earth and how that affects the spacecraft and its instruments. Understanding this can be used to improve design and engineering in order to further protect the spacecraft from harmful radiation derived from the Sun.
Hello and welcome from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida! A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket stands ready for liftoff at Launch Complex 39A for the DoD and U.S. Air Force’s STP-2 mission. Launch is scheduled for 2:30 a.m. EDT this morning, with a one-hour launch window. Follow along on NASA Television for the live broadcast.
Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict an 80% chance of favorable weather for liftoff.
Throughout the duration of the six-hour mission, nearly two dozen satellites – including four NASA payloads – will be delivered to space. NASA’s technologies on board will help improve spacecraft design and performance, advancing future space exploration to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
SpaceX is now targeting 2:30 a.m. EDT, June 25 for the Falcon Heavy launch of the Department of Defense Space Test Program-2 to allow time for additional ground system checkouts—vehicle and payload continue to look good.
NASA TV live launch coverage will start 30 minutes before launch, at 2 a.m.:
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket stands at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida for tonight’s launch of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission. Lift off is scheduled for 11:30 p.m. EDT, with a four-hour launch window. The mission, managed by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, will deliver 24 satellites to space, including four NASA payloads.
Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict an 80% chance of favorable weather for liftoff. Primary weather concerns are anvil cloud rule and thick cloud layer rule.
Tonight’s launch will be among one of the most challenging in SpaceX’s history with four separate upper-stage engine burns, three separate deployment orbits and a propulsive passivation maneuver, where the engine continues to run until it empties out the second stage of fuel. SpaceX also plans to recover the rocket’s three boosters after launch by landing the two side boosters at the Cape Canaveral landing site and the center core downrange on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You.”
Join us here on the blog tonight and on NASA Television for live mission coverage and updates beginning at 11 p.m. Learn more about tonight’s STP-2 launch by visiting the mission home page at https://www.spacex.com/stp-2.