Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pre-Departure Preps Underway

They rolled the payload over to the ship this morning, and tomorrow we'll do some RF power checks from the launch vehicle up to one of the equipment rooms. If that goes well (it always does), then Friday morning we'll flow live data from the ship, through the NASA TDRSS network and do an "End-to-End" test of the entire network we use to relay telemetry from the launch site to all the places it goes.

Yesterday they filled the LN2 tanks in the Launch Platform with NINE tankers of Liquid Nitrogen, and today they started loading the LOX. There were 8 tankers on-site when I left, with another 25 on the way. The day before departure they'll bring in three more to "Top Off" the LOX supply, for a total load of THIRTY SIX tankers of Liquid Oxygen. Something like ONE TON per day boils off during our transit down to the Equator, and we carry enough to make three launch attempts. The fuel can be drained back out of the launch vehicle and saved, but pumping LOX always incurs losses.

Almost all of the RF testing my little group handles is finished, and we're kind of sitting around twiddling our thumbs until Sunday, when we do "Roll Out and Erect", and run the full countdown, minus fueling the launch vehicle. The satellite builder for this launch is an American company we've worked with many times, and things go very smooth, as all involved have done this before, and we all speak English, unlike the last launch, when we could barely communicate with the foreign customer, leading to some "interesting" problems, and very long days.


  1. Here's hoping all goes smoooooooth!

  2. Thanks, Jeff!

    This one *should* be "nominal" all across the board.

    We've worked with these guys before, and launched this identical model of satellite many times.

    As long as the weather cooperates, and the Rocket Guys do their thing OK, we should have this one in orbit the night of January 31st, shortly before midnight.

  3. But if everything goes smoothly, what will you do for excitement?

    I know, I know: I shouldn't ask.

  4. Well, my dear wife gave me a biography of Ben Franklin that's about 600 pages long, I have a book called "The Night Stalkers" about some helicopter operations during the Viet Nam War, I just got a Blu-Ray version of "Charade" with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, I just bought the Marvel "Avengers" Blu-Ray, and I *still* haven't seen about 2/3 of the boxed "Miami Vice" set I bought a couple of years ago.

    I think I can manage to keep myself busy and out of trouble!


  5. Keep the reports coming, drjim. TBH and I vicariously enjoy your rocket science adventures!


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