Author Topic: LIVE: Delta II - Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - July 2, 2014  (Read 50903 times)

Offline Skyrocket

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According to SFN, OCO-2 was taken off Taurus.
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1202/10oco2/
Quote
While NASA holds another competition for OCO 2's launch, integration and testing of the satellite will continue, officials said. Orbital Sciences is building the spacecraft in Dulles, Va.
Too bad Falcon-1 is dead.

So, the available candidates:
Atlas V - Too big
Athena I/IIc - Unproven
Delta II
Falcon 1 - Retired, 1e unproven
Falcon 9 - Too big
Minotaur I - Restricted
Pegasus-XL - Too small

Doubt if they can piggy-back it on an Atlas or Falcon launch to SSO, and they'd be paying for a lot of excess capacity if they opt for a dedicated launch. I doubt if F1e could be ready in time even if SpaceX were actively developing it. I'm also not sure if Athena needs to be requalified given that it has been out of service for so long, and now has a different second stage. Pegasus can't carry it, and Minotaur can only be used if NASA can prove that no other rocket is capable of launching it.

ULA do have a few unassembled Delta II rockets in reserve, and OCO has been linked with it in the past. A 7320 would still have plenty of room for secondary payloads, but it does seem the most likely option.

Minotaur-IV could be an alternative, if no other acceptable launch vehicles are available (e.g. LADEE on Minotaur V). The Minotaur I mentioned above is likely not powerful enough.

Offline Zed_Noir

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According to SFN, OCO-2 was taken off Taurus.
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1202/10oco2/
Quote
While NASA holds another competition for OCO 2's launch, integration and testing of the satellite will continue, officials said. Orbital Sciences is building the spacecraft in Dulles, Va.
Too bad Falcon-1 is dead.

So, the available candidates:
Atlas V - Too big
Athena I/IIc - Unproven
Delta II
Falcon 1 - Retired, 1e unproven
Falcon 9 - Too big
Minotaur I - Restricted
Pegasus-XL - Too small


What do you mean by too big? In terms of lift capacity or cost?

Offline ugordan

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Copied from another thread:

If this happens, is Delta II is only launch vehicle (in this class) certified to launch NASA scientific payloads?

Delta II is in Taurus class as much is Atlas V is in Delta II class

So basically, OCO-2 is going up on a Minotaur IV?

Offline TheMightyM

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Falcon 1 is also very likely too small. Would take a Falcon 1e, which is unproven.

Another possibility besides a Minotaur IV would be to fly OCO-2 and another payload on a Delta 7320.

Offline edkyle99

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Does this mean the end of Taurus?

If so, that would be two U.S. small-sat launchers that have bit the dust in recent months.

Could a Delta 2 even be ready to fly by "mid-2014"?

Minotaur 4 really is the right match for this payload in terms of basic capability and proven flight history, but will the Pentagon approve such a launch?  Athena 2c might be a good match too, but it hasn't flown.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 02/11/2012 03:30 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline ugordan

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Could a Delta II even be ready to fly by "mid-2014"?

The article does state that's realistically the earliest date for a launch.

Offline Antares

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Are there any other spacecraft in line to go into the A-train orbit?  That's would be an excellent opportunity for a dual manifest - and probably the only one likely.

AIUI, OSTP is who has the say on whether a spacecraft can go on a government-furnished launcher, and the mission project has to request it first.  Also AIUI, other commercial providers have the right to protest OSTP's decision with the GAO.
USAF's approach to buying rocket launches is like moving to the Canadian border and buying a $300K house because the $100K house doesn't have an air conditioner.

Offline TheMightyM

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Are there any other spacecraft in line to go into the A-train orbit?  That's would be an excellent opportunity for a dual manifest - and probably the only one likely.

SMAP, scheduled to launch in November 2014, might be a possibility.

Offline ugordan

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Well, the Soil Moisture Active and Passive mission wants to go to a sun-sync orbit, but a 6 AM/PM one so I don't know if that's doable.

Online William Graham

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Minotaur-IV could be an alternative, if no other acceptable launch vehicles are available (e.g. LADEE on Minotaur V). The Minotaur I mentioned above is likely not powerful enough.
I meant IV. Posted that when I was still waking up, and in hindsight it was probably a bad summary.

What do you mean by too big? In terms of lift capacity or cost?

Capacity mostly, but smaller rockets are generally cheaper. That said, the increased fixed costs of a Delta II launch would probably make it more expensive than an F9 - not sure how much a Delta goes for these days. But ULA are still marketing it, so presumably they believe that it is still competitive.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #25 on: 02/11/2012 08:23 PM »
I think this issue with an F-9 or even an Antares is they have not yet flown often enough.

I wonder if the Taurus XL issues where part of the reason for Orbital's Taurus II name change.
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #26 on: 02/11/2012 11:52 PM »
If OCO-2 flies on a Delta II, would it be a three solid Delta 7320, or would it use three Delta II heavy solids and have a different designation?
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Offline Antares

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Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #27 on: 02/12/2012 12:35 AM »
I think the only certified version with big GEMs is the 79xx.
USAF's approach to buying rocket launches is like moving to the Canadian border and buying a $300K house because the $100K house doesn't have an air conditioner.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #28 on: 02/12/2012 11:33 AM »
The reason I asked on that, is I thought in all the Delta II discussions the only remaining GEM's where the large GEM-46's.
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Online William Graham

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Re: Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) - Feb, 2013
« Reply #29 on: 02/12/2012 11:48 AM »
The reason I asked on that, is I thought in all the Delta II discussions the only remaining GEM's where the large GEM-46's.
Delta IIH can't fly from Vandenberg, and I believe ULA is no longer offering Delta II launches from Canaveral (in any case, OCO-2 would have to fly from Vandenberg*). They have said that GEM-40s can be produced if necessary.


*Actually there have been a few SSO launches from Canaveral in the past (using early Thor-Delta configurations), and although I haven't done the maths, a 7920H could probably (theoretically) put OCO-2 up from Canaveral if necessary, but that's beside the point
« Last Edit: 02/12/2012 11:50 AM by GW_Simulations »

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