NROL-129 (4 мКА) - Minotaur IV - Wallops FF, MARS Pad 0B - 15.07.2020 13:46 UTC

Автор tnt22, 02.07.2020 23:04:27

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Цитата07/15/2020 12:19 Stephen Clark

The launch team is now powering up the rocket's flight termination system, which would be used to destroy the launch vehicle if it flew off course. This will allow engineers to test the flight termination system's readiness for flight.


Цитата Spaceflight Now @SpaceflightNow 51 мин. назад

The countdown for today's Minotaur 4 launch from Wallops Island, Virginia, started on time. Early steps in the countdown involve verifying range & tracking station assets are ready for launch.

Liftoff with four NRO payloads is set for 9am EDT (1300 GMT).



Цитата07/15/2020 12:26 Stephen Clark

Preliminary checks of the Minotaur 4's flight termination system are complete as the launch countdown continues toward liftoff at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT).


Цитата07/15/2020 12:30 Stephen Clark

T-minus 3 hours, 30 minutes. After completing the pre-flight vehicle test checklist, Minotaur and ground support equipment have been powered down.

During the last couple of hours, the team retracted the launch pad gantry, established radio connections with the Minotaur launcher, and checked the rocket's flight termination system.


Цитата07/15/2020 13:35 Stephen Clark

The launch team just received a weather briefing, and all parameters are currently "go" for launch and expected to remain so for the duration of the countdown. There is a greater than 95 percent probability of acceptable weather on Virginia's Eastern Shore at the opening of today's launch window at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT).


Цитата07/15/2020 14:01 Stephen Clark

T-minus 2 hours and counting. The countdown continues proceeding toward launch of the Minotaur 4 rocket with the NROL-129 mission at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), the opening of today's launch window.
There are currently no technical problems reported in the countdown.


Цитата07/15/2020 14:13 Stephen Clark

With final arming of the Minotaur 4 rocket complete, the pad team is now evacuating to a safe fallback area.


Цитата: undefined7/15/2020 14:54 Stephen Clark

After liftoff, the Minotaur 4 rocket will head southeast from Wallops Island, Virginia, on a track over the Atlantic Ocean.

Downrange tracking stations at Coquina, North Carolina, in Bermuda, and on Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean will receive signals from the rocket during its climb into orbit, along
with communications through NASA's TDRS satellite network.

The first stage's decommissioned Peacekeeper SR118 solid rocket motor will ignite as the countdown reaches zero to begin the Minotaur 4 rocket's mission. Pitch and roll commands two seconds later will put the rocket on the proper trajectory toward the southeast.
Here's an overview of the initial phase of the launch sequence:

T+00:00 -- Liftoff

T+00:36 -- Max-Q: Aerodynamic pressure on the vehicle reaches its peak as the Minotaur 4 accelerates through the lower atmosphere.

T+00:56 -- Stage 1 Separation/Stage 2 Ignition: At an altitude of around 16 miles, the rocket's solid-fueled first stage exhausts its supply of propellant and is jettisoned. The second stage's SR119 motor ignites to continue the flight toward space.

T+01:54 -- Stage 2 Burnout/Stage 3 ignition: The second stage SR119 motor, built by Aerojet Rocketdyne, burns out and separates at an altitude of around 58 miles. The SR120 third stage motor then ignites for a 72-second burn.

The live video stream of the launch provided by NASA is expected to end shortly after burnout and separation of the Minotaur 4's second stage, and the remainder of the mission will occur in a news blackout at the request of the National Reconnaissance Office, which owns the four payloads on the rocket.

The remaining launch events after second stage separation include the burn of the Minotaur's third stage, jettison of the rocket's clamshell-like payload fairing, and a burn by the rocket's Orion 38 fourth stage motor to place the four NRO payloads into orbit.


Цитата07/15/2020 15:02 Stephen Clark

T-minus 58 minutes. The launch team is powering up systems on the Minotaur 5 launcher for final testing and launch.


Цитата07/15/2020 15:13 Stephen Clark

The launch team continues working through the final launch checklist. No issues are being worked by the ground, launch vehicle and spacecraft teams.


Цитата07/15/2020 15:13 Stephen Clark

The Minotaur 4's S-band telemetry transmitters have been powered off after teams verified a good data link.


Цитата07/15/2020 15:15 Stephen Clark

The Minotaur's inertial navigation system is being configured in preparation for launch.


Цитата07/15/2020 15:22 Stephen Clark

Engineers report the booster's navigation system is properly aligned for flight.


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Цитата07/15/2020 15:28 Stephen Clark

Here are the National Reconnaissance Office's two mission patches for the NROL-129 mission, which will deliver four payloads to orbit for the U.S. government's spy satellite agency.

The patches feature "two warrior figures working together to defend our nation's interests and deny our enemies sanctuary," the NRO said in a description of the patches. "The patches include the phrase 'Our Time has Come,' which symbolizes that these payloads will enable the NRO's continued support to both defense and intelligence operations in support of national security."



Цитата07/15/2020 15:37 Stephen Clark

The NASA-operated range at Wallops is monitoring some boats in restricted waters downrange from the launch site. It's not clear at this time if this might impact today's launch.


Цитата: undefined07/15/2020 15:41 Stephen Clark

T-minus 20 minutes and counting. Today's flight is the seventh Minotaur 4 mission, and the 27th Minotaur family launch since 2000. It marks the seventh Minotaur launch from Wallops Island, Va.

The Minotaur 4 is based on retired Peacekeeper missile motors. A smaller Minotaur 1 rocket uses Minuteman stages.

After launch, the Minotaur rocket will fly downrange southeast from the launch site. Ground stations near the Wallops launch pad, in Coquina, North Carolina, in Bermuda, and on Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean will track the flight's initial milestones.

NASA's network of tracking satellites also monitor the progress of the flight.


Цитата07/15/2020 15:45 Stephen Clark

The countdown has paused to allow time for the NASA-operated range at Wallops to clear boats from offshore waters. This means launch will not occur at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT). Officials haven't disclosed the length of today's launch window.


Цитата07/15/2020 15:46 Stephen Clark

A few minutes ago, officials confirmed upper level winds are favorable for launch today.