Category Archives: Launch / Landing

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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Cygnus Ready to Fly

Viewing opportunities for the Orbital launch.  Click for larger. Credit: NASA
Viewing opportunities for the Orbital launch. Click for larger. Credit: NASA

Mission: Orbital 1 Commercial Resupply Services flight

Launch Vehicle: Antares

Cargo ship: Cygnus

Date: 08 January 2014 TBA (Possibly Thursday 9-Jan)

Status:  LAUNCHED ON 09 Jan 2014

Analysis from SWPC:

Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 06/2100Z to
07/2100Z: Solar activity has been at high levels for the past 24 hours.
The largest solar event of the period was a X1 event observed at

Launch time: 18:30 UTC

Launch Site: Wallops Flight Facility

Launch Pad: Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A

Odds of Favorable Weather: 95 percent

Coverage should be available at the NASA-TV link at the top of the page.

Orbital Sciences had a successful satellite launch yesterday atop a Space X Falcon rocket.  Hopefully they can go two-for-two in getting a nice clean launch of their own rocket today.

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SpaceX Launch Replay

Finally the video hits YouTube. I watched this as it happened and kept saying “wow”. This is one of the better launch videos out there. No animation upon satellite separation here.

Do check it out.

Congrats to SpaceX on the first commercial mission, putting the SES-8 satellite in a geostationary orbit to provide HD communications to India and southeast Asia.

Also thanks to for putting it up.

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