India is going to launch a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for the 30th time. On board are three identical DMC3 optical earth observation satellites built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), United Kingdom (UK). The PSLV-C28 will be the ninth flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration.
In addition two auxiliary satellites from UK, viz., CBNT-1, a technology demonstrator earth observation micro satellite built by SSTL, and De-OrbitSail, a technology demonstrator nano satellite built by Surrey Space Centre.
Last I knew everything was on track for a 16:28 UTC launch from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota (SDSC-SHAR), the spaceport of India.
Here’s a replay of the launch of Sentinel-2A, the second satellite of Europe’s Copernicus environment monitoring program. Video courtesy of ESA.
From ESA: Designed as a two-satellite constellation – Sentinel-2A and -2B – the Sentinel-2 mission carries an innovative wide swath high-resolution multispectral imager with 13 spectral bands for a new perspective of our land and vegetation. This information will be used for agricultural and forestry practices and for helping manage food security. It will also provide information on pollution in lakes and coastal waters. Images of floods, volcanic eruptions and landslides contribute to disaster mapping and help humanitarian relief efforts.
The Progress 59 cargo ship was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch occurring at 07:09 UTC (1:09 p.m. Baikonur time) was good and the ship was placed in a preliminary orbit.
Telemetry between Mission Control and the spacecraft became problematic. Controllers have been unable to get commands to the spacecraft’s onboard computer and can not for example, confirm the deployment of the navigational antennas but they confirm the solar panels are extended.
The plan goes into a default flight, meaning the cargo ship will not arrive at the station until Thursday instead of later today. This gives the mission control more time to work the problem and everything functioning properly. The cargo ship has about a 3-day flight capability, so they could push the time a little but not much. Good Luck!
I’ll post a video of the launch when I can. I am having Internet troubles (since yesterday afternoon), hoping to have it sorted this morning.
Note: The CRS-6 mission will carry more than 4,300 pounds of supplies and payloads to support science and research activities on the ISS. A number of CubeSats are also scheduled to be part of the payload.
Click here for a more detailed overview of the mission (PDF file).
Current Status:Go for the second attempt
Launch Date: Tuesday April 2015 16:40 EDT / 20:40 UTC
ISS arrival: 15 April 2015 at 0700 ET / 11:00 UTC Pending Update
Odds of Launch: 50 percent – note this is worse than for the original launch date which was scrubbed for weather violations.
Tuesday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 84. South wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the station’s 57.7-foot robotic arm to reach out and capture Dragon at approximately 7 a.m. Flight Engineer Terry Virts of NASA will support Cristoforetti as they operate from the station’s cupola.
You can catch the launch and return at NASA-TV link above and will link the replay after the launch when it comes available.
Crew: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka
Launch Day / Time: 27 March 2015 at 19:42 UTC / 15:42 EDT
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Note: Crew members Kelly and Kornienko will be aboard the ISS until March 2016. The long duration is to study how the body reacts and adapts to life in space. The research is needed for future missions say to Mars and may have implications for helping patients here on Earth recovering from long terms of bed rest to helping those with poor immune systems.
Scott Kelly has a twin brother, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly who will participate in a number of comparative genetic studies.
From NASA: There are seven key elements of research on the one-year mission. Functional studies will examine crew member performance during and after the 12-month span. Behavioral studies will monitor sleep patterns and exercise routines. Visual impairment will be studied by measuring changes in pressure inside the human skull. Metabolic investigations will examine the immune system and effects of stress. Physical performance will be monitored through exercise examinations. Researchers will also monitor microbial changes in the crew, as well as the human factors associated with how the crew interacts aboard the station.
NASA-TV coverage is scheduled to begin at 18:30 UTC / 14:30 EDT
ESA launched the Vega VV04 with the ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle or IXV on 11 February. The IXV was launched at 13:40 GMT from Kourou, French Guiana in what appeared to be about the smoothest take off I’ve ever seen.
Once the Vega reached 340 km / 211 miles the IXV separated and continued up to 412 km / 256 miles. From the maximum altitude the IXV coasted back to Earth just as planned, the 500 + sensors on board the IXV captured data all the way.
As the IXV neared the surface parachutes deployed to slow the spacecraft to a safe splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.