NASA / NOAA / USAF / SpaceX Launch Today! (or possibly tomorrow)

A newsworthy story yesterday was the delay of the launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVER) satellite, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, in a joint collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and the Us Air Force.

Credit: SpaceX

The launch was originally scheduled for Sunday just after 6pm EST, and had what we call an ‘instantaneous’ launch window, which means that if the craft didn’t launch on time, it would be scrubbed and launched another day.  This is due to the fact that the craft is being sent to the L1 Lagrange point, a point in space that is a gravitational balance point between the Earth and the Sun, 1.5 Million Km from Earth, about 1/100th the distance to the Sun.

Lagrange Points of Gravitational Equilibrium

I had the chance to talk about it on CTV news Toronto last night, as well as on YorkUniverse Radio with my colleague Jesse Rogerson.

The DSCOVR satellite is tasked with measuring ‘space weather,’ solar wind particles coming from the Sun, giving us a warning about incoming radiation that could harm satellites, spacecraft, and aircraft, hence the USAF interest.

There is also a second piece of news regarding the launch, with SpaceX attempting to land the Falcon 9 rocket on an ocean platform for the second time, hopefully with better results than the previous attempt.

The next instantaneous launch window is this evening at 6:05pm EST.  If the launch doesn’t happen, the next scheduled attempt will be the same time on Wednesday.  If that one doesn’t work, mission scientists will take a look at the weather and schedule the next attempt in the coming days.

One way or another, DSCOVR will get where it needs to go!


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