SpaceX is launching a Global Positioning System III space vehicle (SV) from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. What is a GPS space vehicle? I don’t know exactly, it is a launch for the US Air Force.
The launch window opens at 14:11 UTC / 09:11 ET (26 minute window)
Replays later today (if it goes up).
Side note: I am really please to see this launch, I thought the Rocket Lab launch was today, then when that was a couple of days ago I thought I was going mad. Not mad, just a but confused. LOL. Crazy busy is the big problem. There are a few launches scheduled by various entities, I will try to get caught up.
Rocket Lab makes history with this launch of CubeSats, including one by students atop an Electron rocket. Great job and it looks like the future is bright for Rocket Lab. By the way, the launch is at about the 18 minute mark so you may want to fast-forward.
NASA: A series of new CubeSats now are in space, conducting a variety of scientific investigations and technology demonstrations, following launch Sunday of Rocket Lab’s first mission for NASA under a Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) contract.
An Electron rocket lifted off at 1:33 a.m. EST (7:33 p.m. NZDT) from the company’s launch complex on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand, marking the first time CubeSats have launched for NASA on a rocket designed specifically for small payloads.
“With the VCLS effort, NASA has successfully advanced the commercial launch service choices for smaller payloads, providing viable dedicated small launch options as an alternative to the rideshare approach,” said Jim Norman, director of Launch Services at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This first mission is opening the door for future launch options.”
At the time of the VCLS award in 2015, launch opportunities for small satellites and science missions were limited to ridesharing – flying only when space was available on other missions. Managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, VCLS awards are designed to foster a commercial market where SmallSats and CubeSats could be placed in orbits to get the best science return.
This mission includes 10 Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa)-19 payloads, selected by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. The initiative is designed to enhance technology development and student involvement. These payloads will provide information and demonstrations in the following areas:
DaVinci — High School to Grade School STEM education
“Low cost launch services to enable expanded science from smaller satellites are now a reality. NASA’s Earth Venture program and indeed our entire integrated, Earth-observing mission portfolio will benefit greatly from the ability to launch small satellites into optimal orbits, when and where we want them,” said Dr. Michael Freilich, Director of Earth Science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Our partnership with LSP on the VCLS effort is helping both NASA and the commercial launch sector.”
CubeSats are small satellites built in standard units of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm, or in configurations of two, three or six units. These small satellites play a valuable role in the agency’s exploration, technology, educational, and science investigations, including planetary exploration, Earth observation, and fundamental Earth and space science. They are a cornerstone in the development of cutting-edge NASA technologies like laser communications, satellite-to-satellite communications and autonomous movement.
NASA will continue to offer CubeSats an opportunity to hitch a ride on primary missions in order to provide opportunities to accomplish mission objectives, and expects to announce the next round of CubeSats for future launches in February 2019.
Arianespace is launching (hopeuflly) two satellites: GSAT-11 and GEO-KOMPSAT-2A atop of an Ariane 5 rocket.
The GSAT-11 is for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and GEO-KOMPSAT-2A isfor the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
The launch windows is as follows, and THANK YOU Arianespace for this very nice list!
Between 3:37 p.m. and 4:53 p.m. Washington DC time
Between 5:37 p.m. and 6:53 p.m. Kourou, French Guiana time
Between 20:37 and 21:53 Universal Time (UTC)
Between 9:37 p.m. and 10:53 p.m. Paris time
Between 2:07 a.m and 3:23 a.m Bangalore time, on Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Between 5:37 a.m. and 6:53 a.m Seoul and Tokyo time on Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Tomorrow is the day! InSight lands on Mars! Coverage should be pretty easy to find, we will of course have it so if you cannot get NASA TV, check in here at 09:00 UTC / 14:00 ET for a mirror of NASA’s Public channel
NASA also posted a time line of spacecraft actions I thought was pretty interesting, mostly because of the exactness of the timing.
I added in the UTC times below, funny NASA doesn’t do that. No matter, but if I mess up the conversions, it’s my error and not NASA’s. Remember the Beagles! (LOL)
Here’s the time line NASA published:
11:40 a.m. PST (2:40 p.m. EST / 19:40 UTC) — Separation from the cruise stage that carried the mission to Mars
11:41 a.m. PST (2:41 p.m. EST / 19:41 UTC) — Turn to orient the spacecraft properly for atmospheric entry
11:47 a.m. PST (2:47 p.m. EST / 19:47 UTC) — Atmospheric entry at about 12,300 mph (19,800 kph), beginning the entry, descent and landing phase
11:49 a.m. PST (2:49 p.m. EST / 19:49 UTC) — Peak heating of the protective heat shield reaches about 2,700°F (about 1,500°C)
15 seconds later — Peak deceleration, with the intense heating causing possible temporary dropouts in radio signals
11:51 a.m. PST (2:51 p.m. EST / 19:51 UTC) — Parachute deployment
15 seconds later — Separation from the heat shield
10 seconds later — Deployment of the lander’s three legs
11:52 a.m. PST (2:52 p.m. EST / 19:52 UTC) — Activation of the radar that will sense the distance to the ground
11:53 a.m. PST (2:53 p.m. EST / 19:53 UTC) — First acquisition of the radar signal
20 seconds later — Separation from the back shell and parachute
0.5 second later — The retrorockets, or descent engines, begin firing
2.5 seconds later — Start of the “gravity turn” to get the lander into the proper orientation for landing
22 seconds later — InSight begins slowing to a constant velocity (from 17 mph to a constant 5 mph, or from 27 kph to 8 kph) for its soft landing
11:54 a.m. PST (2:54 p.m. EST / 19:54 UTC) — Expected touchdown on the surface of Mars
12:01 p.m. PST (3:01 p.m. EST / 20:01 UTC) — “Beep” from InSight’s X-band radio directly back to Earth, indicating InSight is alive and functioning on the surface of Mars No earlier than 12:04 p.m. PST (3:04 p.m. EST / 20:04 UTC), but possibly the next day — First image from InSight on the surface of Mars
No earlier than 5:35 p.m. PST (8:35 p.m. EST / 01:35 UTC) — Confirmation from InSight via NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter that InSight’s solar arrays have deployed.