Category Archives: Launch / Landing

VA223 Launch Replay

A replay of the 27 May 2015 launch of Ariane 5 Flight VA223 from the ESA Spaceport in French Guiana. The payload was the Skym-1 which was placed safely in orbit.

The Skym-1 satellite was built by Orbital Sciences in just 20 months and delivered to the launch site four months ahead of schedule.

Video credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Optique Video du CSG

Progress 59 Launch

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.

SpaceX Launch Day – UPDATED

Mission/Orbiter: SpaceX CRS-6 / Dragon

Launch Vehicle:  SpaceX Falcon 9 

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.

NOAA’s Forecast:

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.


Image Credits: NASA / NOAA

Launch Day

A security helocopter surveys the area aound the launch pad for the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft before its arrival.  Photo Credit (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
A security helocopter surveys the area aound the launch pad for the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft before its arrival. Photo Credit (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Mission: One Year in Space

Spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-16M

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

Launch Replay

MMS Launch

The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission (NASA) launched March 12 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The mission features four identical observatories to orbit Earth to provide a view of magnetic reconnection in three dimensions.


Vega Launch Replay

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.

Congratulations ESA, this is a big step!

About the IXV

Video source

SpaceX Update

The SpaceX launch was aborted very late in the count (T – 1 min 28 secs).  There was “some actuator drift” in the thruster vector control system.   The actuator drift occurred in a 2nd stage actuator.

New launch date and time is Saturday 10 Jan 2015 at 04:47 ET/ 09:47 UTC,




SpaceX Launch Tomorrow

Mission/Orbiter: SpaceX CRS-5 / Dragon

Launch Vehicle:  SpaceX Falcon 9 

Note: Will carry Cloud-Aerosol Transport System, a laser instrument to measure clouds and the location and distribution of pollution, dust, smoke, and other particulates in the atmosphere. See additional at end of post.

Current Status: LAUNCH ABORTED The abort happened late in count, almost to liftoff. Anomaly is actuator drift on the thrust vector control system.

Launch Date: Saturday, 10 January 2015 04:47 EDT / 09:47 UTC UPDATED

ISS arrival: 12 Jan 2015 at 06:00 ET / 11:00 UTC  UPDATED

Odds of Launch: UNK percent  UPDATED

NOAA’s Forecast:

Monday Night A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60. North wind 5 to 10 mph.

Tuesday A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 77. North wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

When Dragon reaches the ISS on 08 Jan, the robotic arm will be used to capture it and will be operated by Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and supported by Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency. The coverage will be 04:30 ET / 09:30 UTC with capture at about 06:00 ET / 11:00 UTC.

You can catch the launch and return at NASA-TV link above and will link the replay after the launch when it comes available.

PLUS!! I believe SpaceX is going to try to land the first stage on on a custom-built ocean platform known as the autonomous spaceport drone ship. Sure they only give it a 50 percent chance of success but I’d say that’s pretty good.


Image Credits: NASA / NOAA