Thursday, October 27, 2011

Early morning launch anticipated for polar orbiting satellite

With less than 12 hours remaining before the early morning launch of NASA’s NPP satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, all systems remain “go” and satisfactory weather conditions are forecast for the 5:48 a.m. EDT scheduled launch.

Service crews began filling the first stage of the ULA Delta II rocket with kerosene, and the mobile service tower is expected to be rolled back from the rocket sometime around 7:30 p.m.  EDT today. Liquid oxygen will be pumped into the rocket's first stage early tomorrow morning. A press release from NASA stated that the weather forecast remains flawless, calling for a 100 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time.

NASA's plans continuous coverage of the countdown and launch will beginning at 3:01 a.m. EDT on NASA TV at and on NASA's NPP Mission Launch Blog.  The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) represents a critical first step in building the next-generation Earth-observing satellite system that will collect data on both long-term climate change and short-term weather conditions.

NPP will extend and improve upon the Earth system data records established by NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) fleet of satellites that have provided critical insights into the dynamics of the entire Earth system: clouds, oceans, vegetation, ice, solid Earth and atmosphere.

The mission is scheduled to launch on Oct. 28, 2011 at 2:48 a.m. PDT/ 5:48 a.m. EDT, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., is managing NPP for the Earth Science Division in NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

The NPP will collect critical data on long-term climate change and short-term weather conditions. With NPP, NASA will continue to gather key data records initiated by the agency's Earth Observing System satellites, monitoring changes in the atmosphere, oceans, vegetation, ice and solid Earth.

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