[meteorite-list] GRAIL/NPP/MSL Update - August 31, 2011

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2011 15:59:04 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201108312259.p7VMx4uM000378_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

Aug. 31, 2011

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
george.h.diller at nasa.gov



Spacecraft: GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7920 Heavy
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 17B
Launch Date: Sept. 8, 2011
Launch Times: 8:37:06 a.m. and 9:16:12 a.m. EDT

GRAIL was moved from the Astrotech payload processing facility in
Titusville to Pad 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Aug. 18
and hoisted atop the Delta II rocket. The encapsulation into the
payload fairing was performed on Aug. 23. Wednesday, the spacecraft
was powered on for final testing.

Also on Wednesday, the Flight Readiness Review was held and at its
conclusion a tentative "go" was given for fueling the Delta II rocket
Sept. 1 and 2.

GRAIL's primary science objectives are to determine the structure of
the lunar interior, from crust to core, and to advance understanding
of the thermal evolution of the moon.

Spacecraft: NPP (NPOESS Preparatory Project)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7920
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 2
Launch Date: Oct. 25, 2011
Launch Window: 2:48:01 a.m. - 2:57:11 a.m. PDT (9 min., 10 sec.)
Orbital Altitude: 512 miles

The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) spacecraft arrived at Vandenberg
Air Force Base on Aug. 30 as scheduled. Removal of the satellite from
its environmentally controlled shipping container now is under way.

At Space Launch Complex 2, the Delta II rocket first stage was hoisted
into position on the pad July 20. The nine solid rocket boosters were
attached between July 28 and Aug. 1. The second stage was hoisted
atop the first stage on Aug. 2. Testing of the launch vehicle

NPP represents a critical first step in building the next-generation
of Earth-observing satellites. NPP will carry the first of the new
sensors developed for this satellite fleet, now known as the Joint
Polar Satellite System (JPSS) to be launched in 2016. NPP is the
bridge between NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites and the
forthcoming series of JPSS satellites. The mission will test key
technologies and instruments for the JPSS missions.

Spacecraft: Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-541 (AV-028)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41
Launch Date: Nov. 25, 2011
Launch Time: 10:21 a.m. EST

At Kennedy Space Center, functional testing of Curiosity is finished.
Work has been completed to stow the rover's components, including the
remote sensing mast, robotic arm, wheels and mobility system. The
rover has now been rotated to wheels up in preparation for
integration with the other Mars Science Laboratory components.

The Atlas V rocket for the mission is at the Atlas Spaceflight
Operations Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Atlas and
Centaur stages are undergoing initial checkout before being
transported to Launch Complex 41. The Atlas stage will be transported
to the Vertical Integration Facility on Sept. 8 and followed by the
Centaur on Sept. 9. This is an Atlas V-541 configuration that will
have four solid rocket boosters attached.

The rover's 10 science instruments will search for signs of life,
including methane, and help determine if the gas is from a biological
or geological source. The unique rover will use a laser to look
inside rocks and release the gasses so that its spectrometer can
analyze and send the data back to Earth.

Previous status reports are available at:

Received on Wed 31 Aug 2011 06:59:04 PM PDT

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