Category Archives: Launch / Landing

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,




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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

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Orion in Orbit


Won’t be long and the flight will be over.  We should get to see the video of re-entry, I want to see those big parachutes.

Follow the mission LIVE at the NASA TV link in banner above.

So far all is going very well so from a systems point of view mission managers must be quite pleased.

YES live video from the ORION

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Splash Down!

WOW!  What excellent video!  I’ll leave the link up for a time and will post a copy of the video when a linkable one comes out.


Video source

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Tomorrow’s First Step to Mars

Mission/Orbiter:  Exploration Flight Test-1 / Orion (United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Lockheed Martin)

Launch Vehicle:  ULA’s Delta IV Heavy rocket 

Note: This is the first flight of spacecraft that will take astronauts to Mars.

Current Status: Go

Launch Date: Thursday, 04 December 2014 07:05 EDT / 12:05 UTC

Mission Duration: 4.5 hours

Odds of Launch: 60 percent

Hoping to put up a look at Complex 37 at KSC when it comes available. — Webcam Image courtesy: NASA/Kennedy Space Center

NOAA’s Forecast:

Wednesday Night A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 66. Northeast wind around 10 mph.

Thursday A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 77. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Keeping an eye on the weather!  This flight is short in duration and long on expectations.

You can catch the launch and return at NASA-TV link above and hope to have Live video on this page when the time comes.

Image Credits: NASA / NOAA

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Futura Ready for Launch

The Futura mission launches in just hours as launch preparations draw to a close and ESA’s Samantha Cristoforetti, Roscosmos’ Anton Shkaplerov and NASA’S Terry Virts board the Soyuz TMA-15M for launch to the International Space Station. One launched, the 274 tonnes of rocket propellant will get the crew at the station in just six hours.

Launch site: Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

Launch time: 21:01 GMT –  23 November 2014

A very nice launch and all is well upon reaching orbit.

Arrival: 24 November at 02:30

Watch this launch LIVE at ESA– coverage begins at 20:00 GMT

I have been following ESA’s Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and you can too:

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Launch Day for ORB-3

Mission:  Orbital Sciences Corp Cygnus Cargo Flight for ISS / ORB-3

Rocket: Orbital’s Antares

Launch Facility Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia

Current Status: Go

Launch Date: Monday, 27 Oct. 2014 22:45 UTC / 18:45 EDT

Alternate Dates: 28 to 30 Oct.

Odds of Launch: Unknown numerics but the forecast looks great.

NOAA’s Forecast:

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 65oF / 19oC. West wind around 11 mph. (about 9 to 10 knots)

Some areas along the US East Coast might get a glimpse of the launch. Check the maps here.

Flight notes (from Orbital Sciences):

The ORB-3 Cygnus spacecraft is named the S.S. Deke Slayton, in honor of the late NASA astronaut Donald “Deke” Slayton.

The Orb-3 mission represents the fifth launch of the company’s Antares rocket in its first 18 months of operations. It will also be the fourth cargo delivery mission to the ISS by a Cygnus spacecraft, including the 2013 demonstration flight. For Orb-3, Orbital will deliver its largest load of cargo to date, carrying approximately 5,050 pounds (2,290 kilograms) of cargo to the ISS for NASA. At the conclusion of the Orb-3 mission, the company will have carried a total of 13,378 pounds (6,078 kilograms) of essential supplies, equipment and scientific experiments to the ISS and will have removed 13,444 pounds (6,097 kilograms) of disposal cargo, a vital capability for the maintenance and operation of the Station.

After separation from Antares, Cygnus will deploy its solar arrays and undergo initial check-out. The spacecraft will conduct a series of thruster burns to raise its orbit to bring it within 4 km of the ISS prior to receiving authorization to autonomously rendezvous with the station. When the vehicle approaches to within 12 meters, the astronauts will use the station’s robotic arm to grapple Cygnus and berth it to the Harmony node of the station. Cygnus is planned to remain berthed at the ISS for approximately five weeks during which time the station crew will load Cygnus with materials for disposal. At the end of the mission Cygnus will depart the station and reenter the Earth’s atmosphere.

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ATV-5 Goes into Orbit

An excellent launch, just wish I was around to watch it live. This was the fifth and last ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) going to the ISS.

ESA has the tradition of naming the vehicles and this one is named Georges Lemaître. Lemaitre was the first to postulate the the Big Bang theory and much more, check out the link.

lifted off at 23:47 GMT on 29 July (01:47 CEST 30 July, 20:47 local time 29 July) on an Ariane 5 ES rocket.

The vehicle will deliver 6561 kg of freight, including 2628 kg of dry cargo and 3933 kg of water, propellants and gases.

ATV Georges Lemaître lifted off at 23:47 GMT on 29 July (01:47 CEST 30 July, 20:47 local time 29 July) on an Ariane 5 ES rocket.

ATV Georges Lemaître is due to dock with the Station on 12 August and will remain attached for up to six months before leaving with waste material for destruction along with the spaceship during atmospheric reentry.


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