Author Topic: ULA Atlas V 411 - Solar Orbiter - Cape Canaveral SLC-41 - Feb. 9/10, 2020  (Read 51846 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

« Last Edit: 02/09/2020 03:21 pm by input~2 »
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Offline bolun

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http://sci.esa.int/solar-orbiter/51168-summary/

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Scheduled for launch in October 2018

Offline vapour_nudge

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Launch now on tap for February 2019

http://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2017/08/solar-orbiter-launch-before-next-total-solar-eclipse.html

Stevenage, 21/08/2017 - Today’s total Solar Eclipse across the United States of America will provide a spectacular view of the mysterious Solar Corona, the one million degree “halo” around the sun, which can only be seen from Earth when the Moon passes in front of the bright solar disk, which otherwise completely drowns out the faint light of the corona.

Scientists lucky enough to be able to see the Solar Eclipse from Earth will be studying this rare glimpse of the corona during the one hundred and sixty seconds or less that the eclipse lasts, to try to answer the many unanswered questions about this mysterious corona. No one yet knows for instance, why the corona is more than 100 times hotter than the surface of the Sun.

Meanwhile the European Space Agency spacecraft Solar Orbiter is in the final stages of spacecraft integration at the Airbus spacecraft assembly hall in Stevenage, UK.

Solar Orbiter will be launched in February 2019 into a close orbit around the Sun and will allow scientists to study the solar corona in much more detail, for much longer periods, and at a much closer distance that can ever be reached here on the ground, or for that matter, by any spacecraft circling the Earth. 10 instruments will be flown that will study not only the corona but the Sun’s disk in great detail, the solar wind and the solar magnetic fields which will give us unprecedented insight into how our star works, and how we can better predict periods of stormy “space-weather” that the Sun throws our way from time to time.

The last of the ten instruments is being installed this month and the next step is system testing before the heatshield, antennas and boom are added towards the end of the year. In addition, the first instrument end-to-end electrical test has been performed successfully showing that the system works completely as expected.

By the time of the next global total eclipse, across the Pacific Ocean and South America on 2nd July 2019, Solar Orbiter will have begun its three and a half year journey to the inner solar system to get close to our Sun.


Offline vapour_nudge

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Launch now on tap for February 2020:

Scheduled for launch in February 2020, Solar Orbiter will take just under two years to reach its initial operational orbit, taking advantage of gravity-assist flybys of Earth and Venus, and will subsequently enter a highly elliptical orbit around the Sun.

Full article here:
http://sci.esa.int/solar-orbiter/60671-antenna-s-european-journey-to-join-solar-orbiter/

Offline Lar

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For those who don't have time to read the whole article, can you provide a short summary of why a year delay?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Norm38

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For those who don't have time to read the whole article, can you provide a short summary of why a year delay?

I think they just fell behind schedule.  It's probably been slipping a long time a week at a time and they just did a big update.

Since 2017 the antenna has gone from Germany to Bilbao Spain, to Madrid, to the UK, to Toulouse France, to Noordwijk Netherlands, back to Bilbao, back to Noordwijk, back to Madrid, back to Bilbao again.  Then to the UK for subsystem integration and finally in September 2018 to Ottobrunn Germany for satellite integration!  (That's a lot of time lost just in transit.  Not like a delicate antenna can be stuffed in a box for DHL)

Then the entire satellite needs to run through its testing campaign.

So I can see why they had to push launch to 2020.

Offline Star One

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Is the strong NASA participation mentioned in the article why this is launching on an Atlas V rather than Ariane?

Offline Jim

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Is the strong NASA participation mentioned in the article why this is launching on an Atlas V rather than Ariane?

NASA contribution just like JWST Ariane launch is ESA's contribution.

Offline vapour_nudge

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Solar Orbiter receives its sunblock
http://sci.esa.int/solar-orbiter/60988-solar-orbiter-receives-its-sunblock/

14 December 2018 17:50
It's testing time for ESA's Solar Orbiter: after leaving the premises of prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, UK in September, the spacecraft has started its test campaign at the IABG facility in Ottobrunn, Germany.
 
With its assembly completed, the Solar Orbiter Proto Flight Model (PFM) was despatched to Germany on 26 September. Since arrival there, it has been blanketed with layers of insulation in preparation for its first major environmental check-outs: the thermal-vacuum cycling and balance tests. These will ensure that the spacecraft can carry out its ambitious mission to study the Sun close up.

The PFM is essentially the same as what is referred to as a Flight Model (FM) in the case of other missions, but it is subjected to more severe testing environments in order to complete its qualification campaign.

The first major activity to take place after the PFM's arrival at IABG was the installation of 10 radiator panels for the instruments on one of the side faces of the spacecraft – the one hosting the payload panel. The integration lasted two weeks and involved many complex tasks that were performed by specialist staff from RUAG Space and Airbus-Stevenage.

Before leaving the UK, only some portions of the spacecraft had been fitted with the multi-layer insulation (MLI) needed to protect it from the extreme temperatures it will encounter in the Sun's vicinity. During October and November, the remaining insulation blankets were attached all over the exterior of the spacecraft's platform, with some 350 pieces used on the instrument radiators and another 200 on the rest of the spacecraft.

Meanwhile, a protective heat shield and four communications antennas – a 1.08-m diameter high-gain antenna for primary deep space communications, a medium-gain antenna and two low-gain antennas – were also integrated on the PFM during the second half of October.

The heat shield is designed to protect the entire platform from direct solar radiation, particularly when Solar Orbiter will be at its closest to the Sun. At such times – when the solar distance is only 42 million km, or less than one third of Earth's distance from the Sun – the spacecraft will be subjected to about 13 times the amount of solar heating that Earth-orbiting satellites experience.

The heat shield comprises a series of physical barriers separated by two gaps, which allow lateral rejection of infrared radiation into the cold vacuum of space. The shield is attached to the Sun-facing side of the spacecraft by ten 1.5-mm thin "blades" made of titanium, which separate it from the rest of the orbiter.

At the base of the heat shield is a 2.94 m × 2.56 m support panel that is about 5 cm thick. It is made of lightweight aluminium honeycomb with two carbon fibre skins that have very high thermal conductivity. The support panel is covered by 30 layers of low-temperature MLI that are able to withstand temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celsius. The insulation is designed to keep the support panel at temperatures below 150 degrees Celsius.

A series of ten star-shaped brackets attaches the support panel to an outer layer of high-temperature MLI, designed to withstand a temperature of up to 500 degrees Celsius. This state-of-the-art material is made of 20 very thin layers of titanium.

The first phase of environmental testing has begun in a special thermal-vacuum chamber in early December: there, powerful lamps are simulating the Sun's radiation.

The PFM thermal test is very similar to the one that was performed on the Structural Thermal Model (STM) in 2016. The main difference is that the STM test involved mock-ups of the spacecraft and heat shield, while the new test include the full flight hardware.

The initial phase of this first environmental test simulates the conditions that the spacecraft will undergo when it conducts a series of orbital manoeuvres en route to its operational orbit, for example during flybys of Earth and Venus.

"During 99% of the mission operations time, the heat shield will protect Solar Orbiter, but there will be more than a dozen manoeuvres when one of the side panels will be exposed to sunlight," said Claudio Damasio, ESA's Solar Orbiter project thermal engineer. "Therefore, we need to know how the Proto Flight Model responds when the exterior of the insulation on these panels reaches a temperature of about 120–150 degrees Celsius."

"At a later stage in the testing, we will rotate the Proto Flight Model so that its heat shield is facing the lamps, and we will then conduct hot and cold thermal balance phase tests to see if the spacecraft responds as expected. Subsequent hot and cold functional tests will take place with all of the instruments and units operating in the different flight modes."

The team plans to complete these thermal-vacuum tests before the end of December.

Various elements, such as the solar arrays and the instrument boom, are not yet included in the PFM and will be integrated after the thermal-vacuum tests are completed. The fully integrated spacecraft will then undergo a series of mechanical and electromagnetic compatibility tests early in 2019.

About Solar Orbiter

Solar Orbiter's mission is to perform unprecedented close-up observations of the Sun. Its unique orbit will allow scientists to study the Sun and its corona in much more detail than previously possible, and to observe specific features for longer periods than can ever be reached by any spacecraft circling the Earth. In addition, Solar Orbiter will measure the solar wind close to the Sun, in an almost pristine state, and provide high-resolution images of the uncharted polar regions of the Sun.

It will carry 10 state-of-the-art instruments. Remote sensing payloads will perform high-resolution imaging of the Sun's atmosphere – the corona – as well as the solar disk. Other instruments will measure the solar wind and the solar magnetic fields in the vicinity of the orbiter. This will give us unprecedented insight into how our parent star works, and how we can better predict periods of stormy space weather, which are related to coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that the Sun throws our way from time to time.

Scheduled for launch in February 2020, Solar Orbiter will take just under two years to reach its initial operational orbit, taking advantage of gravity-assist flybys of Earth and Venus, and will subsequently enter a highly elliptical orbit around the Sun.

Solar Orbiter is an ESA-led mission with strong NASA participation.

Offline zandr

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Testing Solar Orbiter 
European Space Agency, ESA

Offline jacqmans

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Solar Orbiter in magnetic field simulation facility

As part of its testing campaign to prepare for launch, ESA’s Solar Orbiter spacecraft underwent a special set of tests in a very unique location, the magnetic field simulation facility near the IABG premises in Ottobrunn, Germany.

Once in space, Solar Orbiter will perform unprecedented close-up observations of the Sun and its corona, measure the solar wind close to the Sun, and provide high-resolution images of its uncharted polar regions. These data will help us understand how our parent star creates and controls the giant bubble of plasma that surrounds the whole Solar System and influences the planets within it.

Space missions that involve measuring magnetic fields in space with exquisite accuracy – such as Solar Orbiter, which will measure the magnetic field of the solar wind, or missions studying Earth’s magnetic bubble, like ESA’s Cluster and Swarm – require dedicated testing to fully characterise their magnetic properties.

The magnetic field simulation facility shown in this image is located just outside the IABG premises, in a nearby forest, to avoid interference with human-generated magnetic fields. In addition to that, the facility consists completely of non-magnetic materials like wood, and contains twelve 15-m coils – nearly as large as the building – to create a homogeneous magnetic environment that compensates Earth’s own magnetic field, simulating outer space conditions.

The tests were performed in June, meeting the mission requirements within the limits of the testing facility. After launch, further measurements during the commissioning phase will complement the results of these tests to fully characterise the magnetic properties of the spacecraft.

The spacecraft is currently undergoing final testing ahead of its launch, scheduled in February 2020 from Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA. Solar Orbiter is an ESA-led mission with strong NASA participation. The prime contractor is Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, UK.

Photo Credit: ESA–S. Corvaja

Offline jacqmans

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PR N° 17-2019 - Call for media: Last chance to view Europe's Solar Orbiter
3 October 2019

ESA’s new Sun explorer will leave Europe soon, with final launch preparations starting in November at Cape Canaveral in Florida, US. ESA and Airbus Defence and Space invite members of the media to get a final glimpse of Solar Orbiter on 18 October
at IABG’s space test centre in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany, before the spacecraft departs for the launch site.


The Sun up close
Solar Orbiter will study the Sun and its dynamic solar wind up close, in much more detail than previously possible. It will observe the as-yet uncharted polar regions of our parent star, and provide key information on how it drives the constantly changing
space weather throughout the Solar System. This will help us better understand the star we live with, how it affects the space environment around Earth and beyond.

The spacecraft is currently undergoing final testing and will depart for Florida at the end of October, ahead of its scheduled February 2020 launch from Cape Canaveral.

Experts from ESA, Airbus DS and Solar Orbiter instrument teams will present the mission, its technical challenges and scientific goals during a dedicated programme for media, from 10:30 to 15:00 CEST on Friday 18 October. There will be ample opportunities
for interviews with space experts and for taking photos and videos of the spacecraft in the cleanroom.

The event will be conducted in English. There will be no livestream.

Information
More information about Solar Orbiter: http://sci.esa.int/solar-orbiter
More information about ESA: www.esa.int


Images and Videos
Images and videos of Solar Orbiter: https://sci.esa.int/web/solar-orbiter/multimedia-gallery

Learn more about ESA at www.esa.int

For further information, please contact:
ESA Newsroom and Media Relations
Email: [email protected]

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Launch on 5 February at 11:15 p.m. local (6 February 04:15 UTC).

October 16, 2019
MEDIA ADVISORY M19-111
NASA Invites Media to Launch of Solar Orbiter Spacecraft

Scheduled to launch in February 2020, ESA’s (European Space Agency’s) Solar Orbiter spacecraft is shown in an illustration against the backdrop of an image of the Sun captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Solar Orbiter will capture the very first images of the Sun’s polar regions. These images will provide key insights into the poorly-understood magnetic environment there, which helps drive the Sun’s 11-year cycle and its periodic outpouring of solar storms.
Credits: ESA/ATG MediaLab/NASA

NASA has opened media accreditation for the Feb. 5, 2020, launch of Solar Orbiter – a joint NASA/ESA (European Space Agency) mission that will address central questions concerning our star, the Sun.

Media prelaunch and launch activities will take place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and neighboring Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. To attend these activities, international media must apply for credentials by 4:30 p.m. EST Dec. 8. U.S. media must apply by 4:30 p.m. Jan. 12, 2020.

All media accreditation requests must be submitted online at:

https://media.ksc.nasa.gov

For questions about accreditation, please email [email protected] For other questions, contact Kennedy’s newsroom at 321-867-2468.

The spacecraft will launch at 11:15 p.m. on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral. NASA’s Launch Services Program is managing the launch.

As the main driver of space weather, it is essential to understand the behavior of the Sun to learn how to better safeguard our planet, space technology and astronauts. Solar Orbiter will study the Sun, its outer atmosphere and what drives the constant outflow of solar wind which affects Earth. The spacecraft will observe the Sun's atmosphere up close with high spatial resolution telescopes and compare these observations to measurements taken in the environment directly surrounding the spacecraft – together creating a one-of-a-kind picture of how the Sun can affect the space environment throughout the solar system.

For more information on the Solar Orbiter mission, visit:

https://sci.esa.int/web/solar-orbiter/home
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline Chris Bergin

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https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/1191746171661885440

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ULA’s Harlingen, TX, team w/the #AtlasV fairing for #SolarOrbiter, a joint @NASA/@esa mission slated to launch Feb. 5, 2020, from Cape Canaveral. These #ULARocketStars have built aerospace hardware in the Rio Grande Valley for >30 years – including for Atlas I, II, III and V.
« Last Edit: 11/05/2019 03:17 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline jacqmans

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The Solar Orbiter spacecraft is placed on a truck for transportation from the Launch and Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Astrotech Space Operations facility in nearby Titusville on Nov. 1, 2019. The spacecraft was delivered to the Florida spaceport aboard an Antonov An-124 cargo plane from Munich, Germany.

Solar Orbiter is a European Space Agency mission with strong NASA participation. The mission aims to study the Sun, its outer atmosphere and solar winds. The spacecraft will provide the first images of the Sun’s poles. NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy is managing the launch. Liftoff is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2020, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

Offline Rondaz

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Solar Orbiter Arrives at Kennedy from Europe

Anna Heiney Posted on November 5, 2019

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Solar Orbiter spacecraft arrived at the Launch and Landing Facility, formerly known as the Shuttle Landing Facility, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard an Antonov cargo plane from Munich, Germany, on Nov. 1. Upon arrival at the Florida spaceport, the spacecraft was offloaded and transported to the Astrotech Space Operations facility in nearby Titusville, where it will spend the next few months undergoing final preparations, tests and checkouts for liftoff.

Solar Orbiter is an ESA mission that will study the Sun, its outer atmosphere and solar winds. Using high spatial resolution telescopes, the spacecraft will observe the Sun’s atmosphere up close and compare these observations with measurements taken around the spacecraft. Due to its unique orbit, Solar Orbiter will provide the first images of the Sun’s poles. NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy is managing the launch.

Although developed independently, ESA’s Solar Orbiter and NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which launched Aug. 12, 2018, are natural teammates. Solar Orbiter’s comprehensive science instruments and unique orbit will help scientists place NASA’s Parker Solar Probe’s measurements in context. By working together in this way, the two spacecraft will collect complementary data sets allowing more science to be gathered from the two missions than either could manage on its own.

https://blogs.nasa.gov/kennedy/2019/11/05/solar-orbiter-arrives-at-kennedy-from-europe/

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https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1193914303570538496

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RocketShip is on her way to the Cape. Carrying the booster and centaur for Solar Orbiter.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: RocketShip

Why isn't the ship using a shorter route via the Tenn-Tom canal?
« Last Edit: 11/22/2019 08:12 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline jacqmans

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Solar Orbiter launch campaign begins

ESA’s mission to the Sun has been unpacked following its arrival in Florida earlier this month, ready to begin pre-launch testing and checks.

The mission is currently scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral launch complex late in the evening of 5 February U.S. time (early morning 6 February central European time) on an unprecedented mission to study our star up-close.

An Antonov cargo plane transported the spacecraft and essential ground support equipment from Munich, Germany, to Florida, landing at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Centre on 1 November. From there the satellite and equipment travelled by road to the AstroTech Space Operations facility. The first weeks were dedicated to setting up the equipment that will be needed to perform the upcoming checks and tests on the spacecraft. This will include repeated simplified tests of the spacecraft and science instruments so that the functioning of the various systems is confirmed as it was before the long flight, and checking of the propellant pressurisation system pressure before eventually fuelling the spacecraft.

This image shows Solar Orbiter shortly after leaving the shipment container (visible in the background) at the Astrotech facility.

In the new year attention will shift to mating the spacecraft with the launch adapter and encapsulating the spacecraft inside the fairing. In the final stages of preparation, the spacecraft will be mounted atop the Atlas V 411 rocket and moved to the launch pad ready for liftoff.

Once in space, and over the course of several years, the spacecraft will repeatedly use the gravity of Venus and Earth to raise its orbit above the poles of the Sun, providing new perspectives on our star, including the first images of the Sun’s polar regions. Its complementary suite of instruments means it will be able to study the plasma environment locally around the spacecraft and collect data from the Sun from afar, connecting the dots between the Sun’s activity and the space environment in the inner Solar System, which is essential to understand the effects of space weather at Earth.

Solar Orbiter is an ESA mission with strong NASA participation. The prime contractor is Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, UK. The mission will provide complementary datasets to NASA’s Parker Solar Probe that will allow more science to be distilled from the two missions than either could achieve on their own.

Credits: Airbus DS Ltd

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