SpaceX has asked for 2:nd of Feb 2010 for the launch of their Falcon 9 rocket. After that on the 3:ed of Feb is SDO:s slot and SDO has the range. I hope that this will stick so that SDO can launch.
Then I see that Endeavour is targeted to launch on Feb 4.
It is a little crowded around SDO:s launch date. I hope we don´t get a slip.
With the number of launch delays this mission has suffered I no longer have any confidence in the promises given about launch dates. This bird was suppose to be in the air nearly 2 years ago. I don't know how Elizabeth Citrin and Dean Pesnell can maintain any semblance of positive morale when the launch suffers delay after delay. I would like to believe NASA would tell that Eccentric who runs the Falcon program he is going to have to wait his turn but that would be logical and just. Given the current circumstances I have little confidence in that happening.
ADDED If Intelsat 14 is launched next Saturday without any hitches we will have that will working in our favor. Once the Pad is clear and ready for prep work NASA and ULA will be anxious to stack the next booster. ULA's Atlas Program is behind schedule and everyone is eager to clear their backlog.
The month of February is clear after the shuttle flight. I would not be surprised to see NASA assign a launch date for the Falcon Program of Feb 8 or later.
If my memory serves me correctly, we're well beyond the orbital life expectancy of SOHO. We may be living on borrowed time. Let's hope the powers that be don't delay the SDO launch too much more.
If SOHO dies, we're back to watching from the ground (with all of those atmospheric limitations. To put it another way, we'll be essentially blind!!
SOHO like all satellites is designed for a nominal life expectancy of 5 years. It was launch in December 1995 that makes it 14 years old. It is actually in pretty good shape. They over designed the fuel capacity onboard because NASA figured they would expend quite a bit getting into orbit. That didn't turn out to be the case. Last year I figure out they had almost 20 years of hydrazine left at current consumption rates. the big issue is the deterioration of the Solar Panels. Right now they are at 80% of capacity at launch once it drops below 70% NASA-ESA will have to start shutting instruments down. Right now the deterioration is happening slowly because there is little solar activity. If the Solar Cycle picks up quickly over the next 6 months that could change dramatically. All it would take is SOHO getting hit by a few good sized flares and NASA would have some decisions to make.
Even if SOHO goes toes up its not the end of the world. It probably light a fire under some keesters to get moving on SDO. The big inconvience comes when SDO has to be calibrated. SOHO is up and running and as close to a perfect reference as you can get. Right now SOHO receives about 8 hours of DSN time per day in 2 to 3 hour periods. If SDO is launched on time there will be a test period beginning in Mid-May when SOHO will be in contact with earth 24 hours a day continuously to Mid-July. It's purpose during that time is to furnish calibration data principly for HMI. Once that is complete everything that comes out of SOHO will be gravy.
How long will SOHO last ? I would say 15 years is definitely in the plans. 20 years is possible. Ulysees lasted 18 Years and SOHO is in far better shape than Ulysees. The question will be will there be the Satellite Dish Time (DSN) ? That stuff is both limited and expensive.
The launch of Intelsat 14 was hung up over the weekend due to an equipment failure. The problem revolved around the failure of a pyrotechnic device used to light off one of the Solid Rocket Motors. Why couldn't they simply use a Zippo Lighter ? The rocket had to be wheeled back into the Vehicle Assembly Building for repairs which have been completed. Intelsat 14 is now scheduled to be launched Sunday Night-Monday Morning with a back-up 24 hours later. The back-up date was given because weather cinditions could be marginal Sunday.
Even with this delay there should be plenty of time to get the booster for SDO Stacked and the Satellite launched on time.
It looks like we can't seem to make sure that we're covered. Is GOES 10 dead or is the decommissioning a budgetary thing?
GOES 10 has come to the end of it's life. It is just about out of fuel for its manuevering system. Because the corridor available to orbit geosynchronus satellites is very narrow all countries that use it have signed an agreement to deorbit all satellites when their fuel supply is used up. That time has come for GOES 10.
What is a shame is all of the damaged XRS Equipment currently orbitting on GOES Satellites. The Pointing mechanisms for the XRS Equipment on both GOES 11 & 12 are busted. The XRS equipment on GOES 13 was lost when that Satellite was hit with an X-Class Flare during it's Post-Launch Checkout.
There will be backup XRS Equipment available once GOES P/15 is launched and checked out. GOES P is scheduled for launch in early March and should complete its check out 4 months later. However GOES 15 will probably be placed in storage once cleared while GOES 13 is brought out of storage. At that point we will have back-up capability that can be deployed quickly in the event GOES 14 XRS Equipment fails.
Here's some PR on the SDO from SPACE DAILY on the 20th.
Unfortunately, they don't even hint at a launch date.
That is a reprint of an article posted on the SDO Website last Thursday. Not only does it not include a launch date it doesn't have anything newsworthy in it. My suspicion is this post was created because the SDO Website ( sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/ ) had not been updated in 6 Weeks. This is strictly filler material. Do not miscontrue this as complaining. I have no problems with leaving a website without updates because there is nothing enlightening worth saying.
What I do find as highly obnoxious is that Twitter Page link ! They talk about everything EXCEPT SDO. What purpose does that serve ? I could care less about Astro-Mike. The fact is that stuff comes off as Mickey Mouse and beneath NASA's Standards. Leif if you're reading this feel free to relay that comment to Dean Pesnell. And tell him the smart move is to ditch that junk.
Returning to SDO I would imagine the reason why the launch date was not included is because it has slipped numerous times. Even with the record of numerous delays we are getting close. Intelsat 14 is the last obstacle. SDO is up next once Intelsat 14 is in the air. Here is NASA's Launch Schedule.
Another interesting point. The launch of GOES P was pushed up a couple of weeks into the last week in February. So NASA must feel pretty confident they can get SDO in the air in the first half of the month.