Category Archives: Launch / Landing

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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Launch Day Tomorrow

If you live along the US east coast you may get a look at the Antares rocket as shown in the map. Image: NASA / Orbital Sciences



Mission/Orbiter:Orbital Sciences Orbital-2 Cargo resupply / Cygnus spacecraft

Mission Highlights: This mission will deliver more than 1,360 kg (3000 lbs) of assorted supplies, hardware and tools. A group of nanosatellites are part of the scientific payloads. The nanosats will capture imagery of Earth, will aid in development of a way to return small samples from the ISS and student-designed experiments.

Current Status: Go

Launch Date UPDATED:  Sunday 13 July 2014 16:52 UTC (12:52 EDT)

Launch Facility:Wallops Flight Facility (Virginia)

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Launch Day

The OCO-2 is ready to go!.  Image credit: NASA
The OCO-2 is ready to go!. Image credit: NASA

Postponed until 02 July at 09:56 UTC (05:56 EDT) – the delay was due to a problem with the noise suppression system at the launch pad and not with the rocket or spacecraft.

This is the launch gantry around the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite onboard. The image was taken 29 June at Space Launch Complex 2 – Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Launch is scheduled for 09:56 UTC (05:56 EDT). According to NASA:

The weather forecast is essentially unchanged and calls for a 100 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time. At liftoff time the temperature will be near 52 degrees, winds from the Northwest at 5-8 knots and a visibility of 1 to 2 miles in coastal fog.

NASA TV coverage at 07:45 to 11:00 UTC (03:45 to 07:00 EDT). The NASA TV link in the banner should work, but if not try here.

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Launching a Dragon

In case you missed it, here’s yesterday’s Space X launch.

Part of the mission was to land the first stage successfully and according to Space X, the landing was good. A successful landing in this case is a vertical “soft” landing and telemetry indicated it looks like it did indeed transmitting for eight seconds after reaching the water and stopped transmitting when it tipped over horizontally — not all the data though. Last reports had ships heading to the location for the possible recovery of the first stage. The recovery effort is NOT expected to be successful, but who knows.

Nice look at the first stage separation and stage two engine starting up.


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Ready to Go

A gallery of images (hopefully) is lead off with a long exposure photo by Bill Ingalis (Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalis) showing the gantry arms moving into position to secure the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for a 26 March 2014 launch. The gallery shows the Soyuz roll out.

The spacecraft will transport Expedition 39 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov (Roscosmos), Flight Engineer Steven Swanson (NASA), and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev (Roscosmos) to the International Space Station where they will participate in a six-month mission.

If all goes well I will have viewing links up before the launch. Fingers crossed for the ISP to hold it together though.

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Progress 54 Launch

The Progress 54 Cargo ship is a Russian auto-piloted craft that was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan yesterday morning.

On board is three tons of food and other supplies for the Expedition 38 crew and that has already been delivered to the ISS.

The progress docked with the ISS in only six hours after it was launched. The docking port on the ISS, called the Pirs port only became available after the Progress 52 was undocked on 03 February.

The Progress 52 will be deorbited on 11 February and will burn up in the atmosphere.


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