Good morning from Florida’s Space Coast! Our coverage is just beginning for the scheduled liftoff of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA’s newest addition to the dependable Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System.
The Atlas V rocket and its TDRS-M payload are in place at Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, where countdown clocks are steadily moving toward liftoff at 8:03 a.m. EDT, the beginning of a 40-minute launch opportunity. The weather forecast predicts a 90 percent chance of favorable weather.
Launch managers and controllers have been on console in the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center since about 1 a.m. and operations to load the Atlas booster with liquid oxygen and the Centaur upper stage with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen began less than two hours ago. The booster’s rocket-grade kerosene fuel, RP-1, was loaded Wednesday.
A weather briefing is coming up in just a few minutes, and a 15-minute built-in hold starts at 7:44 a.m. when the countdown reaches the T-4 minute mark.