Ares I-X – Second Launch Attempt

Following yesterday’s scrub, Ares 1-X survived the overnight thunderstorm and is scheduled for launch this morning. And we are watching on NASA – TV. Currently, they are reviewing systems within Ares I-X to verify there has been no damage. The nearest lightening strike was 700 feet (200 meters) away. The countdown is sitting at T minus 4:00 minutes, and launch is tentatively scheduled for around 9:00 AM EDT.

The resumption of the count is expected in about 25 minutes.

Ares 1-X Second Attempt

Ares I-X. Second Attempt. Early Morning Credit: NASA TV.

Second Attempt.  Hold for Rocket Check.

Second Attempt. Hold for Rocket Check. Credit: NASA TV.

Currently waiting for completion of the systems checks on Ares I-X and the weather. The main weather problem is “triboelectrification”, which is fully explained in this review of yesterday’s launch attempt. Briefly:

According to the 45th Weather Squadron of the Air Force – the Squadron responsible for monitoring all launch weather rules – Triboelectrification is defined as: “triboelectric charging observed to put aircraft and space vehicles into corona when they fly through clouds containing ice or precipitation in either phase.

“The corona generates radio signals known as P-static (Precipitation static). P-static can degrade the signal to noise ratio of critical communications to the vehicle, especially including the range destruct command link.

The new launch time is 11:00 AM EDT. Weather is expected to have an 80% chance to be acceptable at that time (8:00 AM Phoenix time).

Pad 39B

Pad 39B. Credit: NASA TV.

Aerial View of Ares I-X

Aerial View of Ares I-X. Credit: NASA TV.

If today’s launch is scrubbed, the next window is late December or early 2010.

With 20 minutes to go until 11:00 AM EDT, the launch director has polled all systems and all systems are ready for launch. Everything is ok except the weather for triboelectrification.

At 11:03, weather is no go and the estimate is for 20 to 25 minutes from now. And now, they plan to pick up the clock at 11:16 AM and launch at 11:20 AM.

At 11:20, we have a ten minute window. Launch Director looking to resume the count at 11:27 EDT.

The count has resumed with launch expected at 11:30 AM.

Launch success.

Ascent

Ascent. Credit: NASA TV.

More details.

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