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News: 2005

2005 CloudSat News

29 December 2005

  • The Boeing labor union strike enters its ninth week, and all spacecraft launch processing remains on hold.

29 November 2005

  • Due to the Boeing labor strike and other issues, the earliest possible launch date is in February 2006. The spacecraft are being prepared for an extended period in the Astrotech payload processing facilities on North Vandenberg.
  • Starting on 19 December, the Western Range begins a planned two-month maintenance, upgrade and refurbishment period. Work will be performed on Range Safety tracking facilities, computers and launch support equipment.
  • While progress has been made on the problems encountered during testing of the Flight Termination System batteries, Boeing has not formally determined and documented a root cause for engineering review. Approximately 15 days are necessary to prepare for launch once all issues are resolved.

23 November 2005

  • The CloudSat Project was notified that because of insufficient progress on the resolution of the Boeing labor problems, among other factors, the CloudSat and CALIPSO satellites will not be able to launch in December 2005. The two missions will have to wait until after the re-opening of the Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in February 2006 before their first launch attempt. We are implementing their planned contingency activities to place the two satellites in standby for the reminder of 2005, and completing plans to define the appropriate start-up time and startup activities in order to support a launch as early as mid-February 2006.

17 November 2005

  • Another spacecraft battery reconditioning activity was successfully completed.

10 November 2005

  • Repairs on the JPL Airborne Cloud Radar are completed. The system was installed into the Twin Otter aircraft and test flights begin this Friday. Following the test flights, the aircraft will be shipped to Darwin, Australia, to participate in the TWP-ICE field experiment for CloudSat validation from Jan-Feb 2006.
  • Spacecraft battery reconditioning started on 8 November 2005.
  • All other spacecraft launch processing activities are on indefinite hold due to the International Association of Machinist (IAM) strike against Boeing. The FTS battery situation is also still unresolved.

3 November 2005

  • Due to the Boeing labor union strike, CloudSat continues to stand down.
  • CloudSat and CALIPSO are installed within the Dual Payload Attach Fitting at the Astrotech payload processing facilities. When Boeing labor contract issues are resolved, the payload combination will be placed in an environmentally-controlled canister and installed on the payload transporter for the trip to the launch pad.
  • Delta II preparations at Launch Complex 2 have gone according to schedule. Work is on hold until the payloads arrive at the pad for installation on top of the second stage.

31 October 2005

  • CALIPSO and CloudSat are installed within the Dual Payload Attach Fitting. They continue to undergo spacecraft battery charging. The processing team is maintaining the spacecraft safely inside the payload facility at Vandenberg. NASA, Boeing and the Air Force are addressing the problem encountered while testing batteries used for the flight termination system of the Delta II.

27 October 2005

  • Due to the imminent threat of labor union strikes, NASA decided to delay CloudSat-CALIPSO spacecraft canning operations which were to take place on Monday, 24 October 2005. As a result of this delay, the launch is on a day-for-day slip.
  • Spacecraft battery reconditioning was completed on schedule.

20 October 2005

  • The CloudSat Team is continuing to work launch activities to a launch date of no earlier than 7 November.
  • The USAF Operations Readiness Review was successfully completed at Kirtland AFB last week. The detachment commander concluded the staff was ready to support operations and gave his approval to proceed with activities supporting launch.
  • The CloudSat dress rehearsal was successfully completed at the RSC this week.
  • CloudSat spacecraft battery reconditioning began on 19 October and will conclude on Saturday at the Astrotech payload processing facility.

19 October 2005

  • NASA, Boeing, and the U.S. Air Force are working on the problem encountered while testing batteries used for the flight termination system of the Delta II. CALIPSO and CloudSat are installed within the Dual Payload Attach Fitting. CloudSat will continue to undergo final battery charging through Saturday. On Sunday, the combination will be placed in an environmentally-controlled canister and installed on the payload transporter in preparation for the trip to the launch pad. Delta II preparations at Space Launch Complex 2 continue, as the launch vehicle awaits arrival of the payloads for installation on the second stage on 24 October.

13 October 2005

  • The launch was postponed pending resolution of a problem encountered while testing launch-vehicle flight-termination system batteries. CALIPSO and CloudSat are installed within the Dual Payload Attach Fitting and are undergoing final battery charging in preparation for transport to the launch pad. Except for the battery problem, Delta II preparations at NASA's Space Launch Complex 2 continue to go well.
  • A launch countdown rehearsal was conducted at Vandenberg Air Force Base with participation from mission operations support complex personnel at Kirtland Air Force Base.
  • Spacecraft battery reconditioning was completed on schedule.

6 October 2005

  • The RSC (Research, Development, Test & Evaluation Support Complex) completed a series of proficiency supports for CloudSat at each of the 15 AFSCN (Air Force Satellite Control Network) antenna stations. This activity involves bringing up the CloudSat configuration at the station, sending commands, and playing recorded telemetry from the antennas back to the RSC. The database configurations were verified at all stations and the AFSCN is ready to support launch.
  • The final spacecraft battery reconditioning was started at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

22 September 2005

  • A successful Launch & Early Orbit mission phase Ascent Simulation was held last week. An independent committee from within ESMO provided simulated orbit data to the participants per the simulation timeline. Operations teams from CloudSat, CALIPSO, ESMO CCS, and Aqua/Aura Flight Operations were all participants. They tested the operations procedures for addressing off-nominal injection errors, daily product deliveries, and coordination/communication during the L&EO mission phase. No critical issues were found.

15 September 2005

  • CloudSat/CALIPSO processing activities are complete. Battery charging will continue until both spacecraft are transported to the launch pad in early October.
  • The Delta II preparations at NASA's Space Launch Complex 2 are complete, and the launch vehicle is awaiting arrival of the CloudSat/CALIPSO payloads for installation atop the second stage.
  • The CloudSat/CALIPSO Mission Readiness Briefing was held on 15 September 2005 at NASA HQ. The recommendation was to proceed with launch preparation.
  • The CloudSat Safety and Mission Assurance Readiness Review was successfully passed on Saturday, 10 September 2005. CloudSat had no action items.

12 September 2005

  • Launch of CALIPSO/CloudSat is tentatively scheduled for no earlier than 3:01 AM PDT on 26 October 2005.

10 September 2005

  • Launch of CALIPSO/CloudSat is tentatively scheduled for no earlier than 3:01 AM PDT on 2 October 2005.

8 September 2005

  • Due to other Delta II launch and test activity, launch of CALIPSO/CloudSat is tentatively scheduled for no earlier than Oct. 1, pending the availability of the Western Range.
  • CALIPSO was installed onto the payload attach fitting on Aug. 30 and is being installed within the upper portion of the DPAF today.
  • CloudSat processing activities are complete. Battery charging will continue until the spacecraft is transported to the launch pad along with CALIPSO on Sept. 13. The CloudSat Mission Readiness Review was successfully completed on Sept. 1.
  • The Delta II preparations at NASA's Space Launch Complex 2 are complete and the launch vehicle is awaiting arrival of the CALIPSO/CloudSat payloads for installation atop the second stage.

1 September 2005

  • The CloudSat spacecraft has been encapsulated within the DPAF (Dual Payload Attachment Fitting). CALIPSO is currently being integrated on top of the DPAF.

25 August 2005

  • The CloudSat spacecraft has been mounted onto the flight PAF (Payload Attachment Fitting) and installed within the lower conical section of the DPAF (Dual Payload Attachment Fitting) enclosure.
  • CloudSat Science and Project System Engineering representatives attended the CALIPSO Operational Readiness Review held at CNES last week. The review was successful and indicated that CloudSat and CALIPSO are well coordinated for the Launch & Early Orbit operations. In addition, the "CALIPSO - CloudSat Coordinated Ascent Plan" was signed by the appropriate representatives from CloudSat, CALIPSO, and ESMO making the document the guiding procedure for the "independent but coordinated" ascent.

18 August 2005

  • CloudSat spacecraft fueling operations were successfully completed on August 15, and the team started combined LV operations with Boeing on August 18 as scheduled for the September 29 LRD.
  • CloudSat spacecraft weighing operations with Boeing were completed on August 18, and the preliminary measured wet (fueled) mass of CloudSat is within 2 kg of the predicated launch mass.
  • The CloudSat Project Manager participated in the NASA/KSC Launch Vehicle Readiness Review on August 17.

11 August 2005

  • The final closeout and inspection on the CPR flight instrument was completed on 8/5/05.
  • Spacecraft battery reconditioning was completed and the solar array RRS (Retain-Release System) was installed.

4 August 2005

  • Spacecraft launch site processing activities have resumed with the start of the next battery reconditioning cycle.
  • After reviewing the latest set of launch and orbit injection thermal curves it was determined that another default CSM (Command Storage Memory) load is not required to support the 29 Sep 05 launch readiness date. The version currently stored on the spacecraft is valid through 22 Nov 05

28 July 2005

  • NASA has established a launch date of September 29, 2005.
  • The Orbital Debris (OD) Program Office completed its review of the CloudSat Mission Orbital Debris Assessment report, JPL-D-26270 Rev A, dated 24 June 2005. The report provides a satisfactory assessment of the potential for accidental explosions during mission operations (Guideline 4-1 of NSS 1740.14). They conclude that CloudSat is now compliant for this guideline.

21 July 2005

  • CloudSat participated in a Technical Interchange Meeting (TIM) with the CALIPSO Project followed by an Afternoon Constellation Mission Operations Working Group Meeting this week at GSFC. The TIM discussions resulted in accomplishing the exchange of launch and early orbit coordinated ascent plans. The Afternoon Constellation Mission Operations Working Group finalize the Afternoon Constellation Operations Contingency Procedures and reviewed the results of the TIM between CloudSat and CALIPSO.

14 July 2005

  • The project is now working towards a NET (not earlier than) 28 September 2005 launch readiness date.
  • The CPR (Cloud Profiling Radar) EIK (Extended Interaction Klystron) sub-assemblies were successfully reconditioned.
  • The CloudSat Operations Readiness Review was conducted last week at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The board was made up of representatives from JPL, USAF, GSFC, LaRC, and BATC. The board concluded that CloudSat is ready to support operations, and commended the team on a good review.

30 June 2005

  • CloudSat completed battery reconditioning late Monday, 27 June. Technicians are also performing some additional spacecraft testing. Stacking of the Boeing Delta II at SLC-2 and attachment of the four strap-on solid rocket boosters is complete.

23 June 2005

  • CIRA conducted a successful verification exercise of their internal processes last week, with JPL in attendance. The exercise confirmed CIRA's ability to process data and perform the associated data distribution and archive functions.

16 June 2005

  • The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) spacecraft continues to undergo comprehensive checkout, which is scheduled to be completed this week. Atmospheric testing of the spacecraft's laser was completed June 15. CloudSat is undergoing a battery trickle charge. When processing of the satellite resumes June 23, technicians will conduct battery reconditioning and spacecraft fueling. It will then be mated to the lower Dual Payload Attach Fitting.
  • The stacking of the Boeing Delta II at SLC2 began June 14 with the hoisting of the first stage into the launcher. Attachment of the four strap-on solid rocket boosters is under way. The second stage will be hoisted into position June 20. The payload fairing was lifted inside the clean room within the mobile service tower June 13.

9 June 2005

  • Rehearsal 2.5 was successfully conducted at the RSC last week, simulating first acquisition, GPS initialization, and CPR transition to operate mode. The rehearsal focused on situations where the team was required to respond with the execution of contingency procedures.

26 May 2005

  • The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation spacecraft (CALIPSO) arrived 20 May from France aboard an Antonov cargo plane. Both CloudSat and CALIPSO are being processed at the VAFB Astrotech Payload Processing Facility. Electrical and spacecraft transmitter testing on CloudSat is complete. The CALIPSO post-arrival state-of-health checks continue, and electrical ground-support equipment is being set up for additional testing.

19 May 2005

  • Close-out activities were completed on the CPR (Cloud Profiling Radar) readying the instrument for launch.

12 May 2005

  • Checkout of the CloudSat Spacecraft at VAFB continues on schedule.

5 May 2005

  • The CloudSat spacecraft was shipped from Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation (BATC), Boulder, Colorado, to Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) on 2 May 2005, removed from the shipping container, and placed on the workstand in the payload processing highbay.
  • The CloudSat Science Team held a special meeting in Santa Fe last week to plan "first light" research for the first six months after launch and to review the plans for validation. A number of "first-light" activities were identified, including improvements to satellite cloud and rain products (e.g. MODIS, TRMM), comparisons with numerical weather prediction results (e.g. cloud fields and rain/no rain identification), and a focused study of arctic dehydration-greenhouse feedback. A number of new validation activities were presented, including a Japan-funded shipborne radar-lidar cruise from San Diego to Japan (Oct 2005- Feb 2006), flights of the University of Wyoming King Air cloud radar, aerosonde flights out of Wallops Flight Facility (Virginia) and Australia, and possible ground and aircraft observations in China. These activities are in addition to the already planned activities in Canada and Europe, and the Darwin, Australia experiment.

28 April 2005

  • Prof. Graeme Stephens, CloudSat Principal Investigator, was named a Colorado State University Distinguished Professor. This is the highest academic recognition awarded by the University, bestowed upon no more than 12 CSU professors at any one time on the basis of outstanding scholarship and achievement. Professors receiving this title hold the distinction for the duration of their association with the University.
  • Ground support equipment was shipped from the BATC (Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation) campus in Boulder, CO and arrived at VAFB (Vandenberg Air Force Base), located on California's central coast, on 26 April 2005.
  • The spacecraft was "triple-bagged" and moved from the BATC Highbay/Clean Room to the staging area where it will be placed in the shipping container for an arrival at VAFB no later than 2 May 2005.
  • CPR team assessment of the latest CloudSat/CALIPSO combined coupled loads analysis (CLA) results were completed. Based on the spacecraft system level vibration test data and these final CLA loads results, the CPR instrument is structurally sound for the launch loads environment.

21 April 2005

  • Rehearsal 2, a project-wide simulation of activities performed during the first 45 days after launch, was completed the week of 15 April 2005. Days 1 and 2 focused on the launch and first days after launch, Day 3 focused on formation establishment activities, and Day 4 focused on CPR initialization activities. The rehearsal committee created anomalies for which the team practiced contingency responses. A debrief of this rehearsal is scheduled for 27 April 2005.

10 March 2005

  • The CloudSat Ground Operations Review was successfully completed on 4 March 2005 at Vandenberg AFB. CloudSat's earliest arrival date to Vandenberg will be 8 April 2005.

3 March 2005

  • The spacecraft team completed preparations for and conducted a successful pre-ship review at the BATC facility in Boulder, CO on 28 February 2005.
  • Colorado State University's CloudSat Outreach Program signed an international memorandum of understanding with the Thailand Research Fund that will partner Thai students and scientists with CloudSat scientists at Colorado State. The students will actively collect scientifically relevant data on clouds and precipitation, and the information will be made available to CloudSat scientists to support the satellite's radar data.