Sunday, August 16, 2009

Live At The Cape: Delta II Set For Predawn Launch

LIVE IMAGES: The images above are from live video feeds in the Launch Complex 17 area at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. They will automatically refresh to the most up-to-the-minute image every 30 seconds.

A Delta II rocket is bathed in xenon floodlights at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station tonight as the Air Force and United Launch Alliance prepared for an end-of-an-era launch of a Navstar Global Positioning System satellite.

The 125-foot rocket and its payload -- the GPS IIR-21 spacecraft -- remain scheduled to blast off from Launch Complex 17A at 6:35 a.m. The launch window will extend through 6:49 a.m.

The Mobile Service Tower at the pad was rolled back as scheduled this evening, and the sleek white-and-teal rocket now stands poised for the 49th and final Delta II launch of a GPS satellite. Next-generation GPS birds will be wider and heavier and will be launched on larger Atlas V and Delta IV rockets.

Click here to read our front-page story about the End Of An Era. It features three longtime Delta II workers.

Launch preps then will continue through the night and the terminal countdown is slated to pick up at 3:35 p.m. You can follow the terminal countdown here in The Flame Trench, and check out the countdown timeline charts on pages 14 and 15 of this Official Mission Booklet from United Launch Alliance.

The weather forecast forecast for launch remains favorable. Despite three tropical storm systems -- Claudette in the Gulf of Mexico and Ana and Bill in the Atlantic, meteorologists say there is a 70 percent chance conditions will be acceptable for launch.

Check out all the details in this Official Forecast from the Air Force 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron. The wing provides tracking, range safety and weather forecasting services for all launches from Cape Canaveral and NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

The Air Force is asking mariners to steer clear of a launch hazard area off the coast of Cape Canaveral from 4:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.

Check out this Launch Hazard Area Map. Violators can be fined up to $250,000 and jailed for up to six months.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the United Launch Alliance image of a Delta II rocket on Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station tonight after the mobile service tower at the pad was retracted away from the vehicle. You can probably click the enlarged image, too, to get an even bigger view. Photo credit: Carleton Bailie/United Launch Alliance.

No comments: