Tag Archives: Deep Space Climate Observatory

Launch, Launch, GRAY LAUNCH!

I’ve been offline due to a heavy workload at the office, but I have time to catch up a bit with launch videos!

On October 30, Koreasat 5A launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket out of Kennedy Space Center’s LC-39A:

The next day, an Orbital ATK Minotaur C launched from Vandenberg AFB in California to place six SkySat satellites and four Doves into orbit.  Minotaur C represents the return to flight for Taurus, whose name was changed to Minotaur C to make a break from the bad luck that had plagued Taurus:

And then on November 5, a Long March 3B out of Xichang, China placed the next two Beidou spacecraft into orbit.  Beidou, when complete, will compete with the GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo constellations for satellite navigation.

On November 7 (in South America; it would’ve been November 8 in Europe), a Vega rocket from Arianespace placed the Mohammed VI-A observation satellite into orbit for the nation of Morocco, flying out of Kourou, French Guiana:

And lastly, after a one-day scrub due to an errant private airplane straying into the launch zone minutes before liftoff, the latest Cygnus cargo ship is on its way to the ISS.  Launched by an Orbital ATK Antares rocket out of Wallops Island, Virginia, this placed the OA-8 Cygnus “SS Gene Cernan” onto its path to intercept the ISS in a couple of days:

(PS. I’m from Minnesota.  So yes, it is Launch, Launch, Gray Launch.  And always will be.  😛 )

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DSCOVR’s long road to orbit is nearly over

The DSCOVR spacecraft is next on deck to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida tomorrow evening, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.  The Falcon 9 will be making its most distant payload delivery to date, as DSCOVR is slated to fly to the Sun-Earth L1 point.

DSCOVR stands for Deep Space Climate ObserVatoRy, and its been in development hell since 1998, when it was first proposed by then-Vice President Al Gore as “Triana”.  Gore’s concept was of a 24/7 live full-disk image of the sunlit Earth to inspire the public as to the value of our little blue marble while also monitoring space weather from this ideal vantage point, and shortly after George W Bush took office, the mission was put on hold, ostensibly due to a lack of peer review in the proposal process.  It had already been built by then, thought with the 24/7 streaming video of Earth part largely deleted due to inadequate bandwidth, but the hold yanked it off of the Space Shuttle that was due to launch it.  It would have been a payload on STS-107, the ill-fated final flight of Columbia.  It went into storage until 2008, when NASA identified it as a potential replacement for the ACE spacecraft already at L1, which is getting old and beginning to fail.  And tomorrow, as DSCOVR, it will finally fly.

Here’s hoping for a smooth launch.  😉  Liftoff is scheduled for 6:10:12 p.m. EST, or 5:10:12 PM CST, or 2310:12.

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