Skip to comments.Atlas 5/TDRS-K Launch TODAY 8:48PM EST (5:48
Posted on 01/30/2013 6:47:02 AM PST by Jack Hydrazine
Rocket: Atlas 5
Payload: TDRS K
Date: Jan. 30, 2013
Window: 8:48-9:28 p.m. EST/5:48-6:28 p.m. PST (0148-0328 GMT)
Site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral, Florida
Feed: NASA Television
On the pad! Completing the first third-of-a-mile on the trek to orbit, the Atlas 5 rocket has arrived at the Complex 41 pad for Wednesday evening's ascent to deploy a NASA communications spacecraft. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite K (TDRS K) is bound for geosynchronous orbit to replenish the existing space network to transmit information between low-Earth-orbit craft and mission controllers. Users depending on the system include the space station, Hubble and NASA's fleet of scientific missions.
The Atlas 5 rocket will inject the Boeing-built satellite into a highly elliptical transfer orbit, and the spacecraft will spend about 10 days maneuvering itself into a circular orbit 22,300 miles above the Pacific for testing and checkout.
Its operational location is targeted to be 171 degrees West longitude.
The two mobile trailers connected to the launching platform, which were part of the convoy during this morning's rollout, soon will be hooked up to power and communications systems at the pad. These trailers provide conditioned air to the payload and communications with the rocket during the rollout and the countdown. They are protected from the blast of launch by a concrete structure on the north-side of the platform.
Within the next hour, the auto couplers between the pad and platform will be engaged to route umbilical connections from the ground to the rocket for tomorrow's fueling of the booster with cryogenic propellants.
Later today, the undercarriages used to move the mobile platform will be disconnected and the "trackmobiles" pulled free.
And the first stage will be loaded with its supply of highly refined kerosene fuel, called RP-1.
Ground crews will secure the rocket for a quiet evening leading into the launch opportunity tomorrow. Countdown clocks will start ticking about seven hours before liftoff time.
Wednesday's 40-minute launch window opens at 8:48 p.m. and closes at 9:28 p.m. EST.
Here's a timeline of the countdown's key events:
HR:MM..Eastern...Event T-6:20...1:48pm...Countdown begins with rocket power up T-5:30...2:38pm...Weather briefing
T-4:55...3:13pm...Start clearing assembly building area
T-4:20...3:48pm...C-band tracking beacon testing
T-3:40...4:28pm...S-band telemetry link checks
T-2:55...5:13pm...Establish blast danger area roadblocks
T-2:15...5:53pm...Clear the pad
T-2:00...6:08pm...T-120 minutes and holding (for 30min)
T-2:00...6:15pm...LIVE NASA Television coverage begins
T-2:00...6:33pm...Launch conductor briefing to team
T-2:00...6:35pm...Readiness poll for fueling
T-1:50...6:48pm...Centaur LOX transfer line chilldown
T-1:43...6:55pm...Begin Centaur liquid oxygen loading
T-1:30...7:08pm...Begin Atlas first stage LOX loading
T-1:25...7:13pm...Centaur LH2 transfer line chilldown
T-1:10...7:28pm...Centaur RL10 engine chilldown
T-1:02...7:36pm...Begin Centaur liquid hydrogen loading
T-0:40...7:58pm...FLight termination system final test
T-0:16...8:22pm...RD-180 engine fuel fill sequence
T-0:04...8:34pm...T-4 minutes and holding (for 10min)
T-0:04...8:37pm...Readiness poll for launch
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Related news article:
Atlas 5 comes together at record pace for NASA launch
Photo gallery of the Atlas 5 stacking process for TDRS
TDRS-K / Atlas V Media Day at Astrotech
Tracking and Data Relay Satellite
TDRS-K to Add to Vital Space Network
[Atlas V] Processing Flow of TDRS-K Spacecraft Ahead of Launch
[Atlas V] Processing Flow of Atlas V Set to Launch TDRS-K on Wednesday
[Atlas V] Animation of TDRS-K Deploying Antennas In Orbit
TDRS-K Ready for Flight
Satellite Launch Nears on “This Week @NASA”
TDRS-K Simulated Launch Day
[Atlas V] Launch Mission Profile of TDRS-K Atlas V Launch
For later viewing.
The South Koreans launched their first satellite to orbit successfully today.
Video of launch
I was unaware NASA could launch anything bigger than a bottle rocket.
What a waste. Just think how many EBTs could be charged up with that money?! HRH Obama will have to look into this.
NASA built the satellite but United Launch Alliance (ULA) is actually launching it. They also have a webpage for viewing the launch.
The rocket was built by the Russians and Americans.
“Atlas V is an active expendable launch system in the Atlas rocket family. Atlas V was formerly operated by Lockheed Martin, and is now operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance. Each Atlas V rocket uses a Russian-built RD-180 engine burning kerosene and liquid oxygen to power its first stage and an American-built RL10 engine burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to power its Centaur upper stage. The RD-180 engines are provided by RD AMROSS and the RL10 engines by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. Some configurations also use strap-on booster rockets made by Aerojet. The standard payload fairing sizes are 4 or 5 meters in diameter and of various lengths, are made by RUAG Space. Fairings sizes as large as 7.2m in diameter and up to 32.3m in length have been considered. The rocket is assembled in Decatur, Alabama; Harlingen, Texas; San Diego, California; and at United Launch Alliance’s headquarters near Denver, Colorado.”
In the meantime NASA will be increasing their class sizes for teaching Muzzies how to feel even better about themselves!