Friday, January 08, 2010

High winds, shuttle push back SDO launch

The launch of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station has slipped from Feb. 3 to Feb. 9.

NASA officials said high winds before the holidays delayed the mating of a Centaur upper stage to the United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster, eating up contingency time.

With shuttle Endeavour targeted for an early Feb. 7 liftoff from Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station, the Eastern Range wasn't available until two days later.

The mission's new launch window is 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Eastern time.

SDO will study the sun and its effect on space weather, including sunspots, solar flares and coronal mass ejections.

Click here for a NASA fact sheet with more background on the mission.

PHOTO: On Dec. 21 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41, the Centaur upper stage for the Atlas V rocket scheduled to launch NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is lifted above the first stage of the rocket in the Vertical Integration Facility. SDO is the first space weather research network mission in NASA's Living With a Star Program. The spacecraft's long-term measurements will give solar scientists in-depth information about changes in the sun's magnetic field and insight into how they affect Earth. For information on SDO, visit Photo credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller

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