RadFxSat (Fox-1B) is scheduled for launch at 1:47am PST (09:47 UTC) on Saturday, November 18th from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California! Please join us here for a live blog of the launch and initial reception reports. Live blog entries appear at the bottom of this post. There is no need to refresh the page for updates.
Live video of the launch will be available on NASA TV, starting at 09:15 UTC.
Preliminary TLEs are:
1 00000U 17017A 17322.46018518 -.00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 9995
2 00000 97.6969 254.4977 0258300 235.3028 178.8186 14.79656332 -1372 06
A video of the mission profile can be seen below. RadFxSat is represented by the second CubeSat seen following the deployment of the first set of CubeSats at 2:10 of the video.
More information about the launch and early operations can be found at https://www.amsat.org/getting-ready-for-radfxsat-fox-1b/
Watch here for the first telemetry reception from RadFxSat: http://www.amsat.org/tlm/leaderboard.php?id=2&db=FOXDB
Live Updates Below
Live updates will be published here beginning at 09:15 UTC.
Good morning and welcome to this morning’s live blog. We’re now 32 minutes from launch. The NASA TV feed is now live!
The countdown is now at T-15 and holding for a built in hold. Countdown is expected to resume at 09:22 UTC. 01:47:35 UTC is the planned liftoff time.
Ground winds are the one concern so far. Winds cannot exceed 26 knots. Probability of violation at launch time is 30%.
T-15 minutes and counting!
Next event is a pre-planned ten minute hold at 09:33 UTC.
The preliminary Keplerian elements posted above are now included in the AMSAT keps distribution. You should be able to add “RadFxSat” to any application using AMSAT keps. However, some tracking programs do not work well with preliminary TLEs due to “fudged” numbers.
ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno notes on Twitter that upper level winds are improving ahead of the launch.
T-4 minutes and holding for a pre-planned 10 minute hold.
New preliminary keps have been released
One station is No Go. Evaluating an alarm.
Launch has been scrubbed for today. We’ll be back tomorrow at the same time.
From United Launch Alliance: “The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II carrying the JPSS-1 mission for NASA and NOAA was scrubbed today due to a red range and a late launch vehicle alarm. Due to the short window there was insufficient time to fully coordinate a resolution. The launch is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 15, from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The launch time is 1:47 a.m. PT.”
If the launch goes as planned, RadFxSat will launch on the 43rd birthday of one of its “grandfathers,” AMSAT-OSCAR 7. AMSAT-OSCAR 7 also launched on a Delta-family rocket (Delta 2310) from the west pad at Vandenberg Space Launch Complex 2.
Launch coverage has come a long way in the past 43 years! See this article from the December 1974 AMSAT Newsletter regarding the launch of AMSAT-OSCAR 7.
While we wait until tomorrow morning for the launch of RadFxSat, here’s an article about the ride for the next Fox-1 satellite scheduled for launch, Fox-1D. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2017/nov/13/pslv-c-40-lift-off-in-december-with-enhancements-1699588.html
There has been a conversation about the narrow launch window on the AMSAT North America Facebook group. JPSS-1 is targeting a sun-synchronous orbit with a Local Time of the Ascending Node (LTAN) of 13:30. In addition, it is also targeting an orbit that separates it from the Suomi-NPP weather satellite by 50 minutes. These factors combine for a launch window that is only 66 seconds long. Tomorrow’s launch window opens at 09:47:02 UTC and closes at 09:48:08 UTC. For further reading on launch windows, see this article on the NASA website. https://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/launchwindows.html
Preliminary Keplerian elements are available in the AMSAT Kep distribution. Unfortunately, they don’t work in all tracking software. SatPC32, GoSatWatch (iOS), and AMSATDroid Free (Android) are confirmed to be working. SatSat, HamSat, and ProSat do not work. They also do not work with the AMSAT Pass Prediction page. They are working on AMSAT Argentina’s pass prediction website: http://amsat.org.ar/pass.htm
Here are a couple of screen grabs using the preliminary Keplerian Elements in SatPC32, showing a few of the first passes that should have a good footprint over the US. Note that these are approximate only, and we should have updated keps from NASA closer to/after the launch.
1143z: First for the west coast:
1613z: First for the east coast
1927z: First for the entire CONUS
Good morning and welcome to the live blog. We’re at T-15 and holding for a built-in hold. The NASA TV stream is now live.
No technical issues at this time. Final planned weather briefing shortly.
Probability of violation of weather constraint at T-0 is 0% at this time.
T-14 minutes and counting. Planned 10 minute hold at T-4 minutes (09:33 UTC).
Upper level winds are currently red.
SCRUB. Upper level winds are too high for launch and the pattern is expected to remain in place for at least the next two days.
It looks like launch won’t be able to happen for at least the next two days due to the upper level wind pattern. The preliminary plan is for a 24 hour turnaround, but that doesn’t look likely with the wind pattern.
From ULA: “The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket carrying the JPSS-1 mission for NASA and NOAA was scrubbed today due to a range safety hold and high upper level winds. The team is working to establish a new launch opportunity.”
A note on the winds aloft constraints for the Delta II rocket from the ULA Delta II Payload Planner’s Guide: “22.214.171.124 Winds Aloft Constraints. Measurements of winds aloft are taken at the launch pad.
The Delta II controls and loads constraints for winds aloft are evaluated on launch day by conducting
a trajectory analysis using the measured wind. A curvefit to the wind data provides load
relief in the trajectory analyses. The curvefit and other load-relief parameters are used to reset the
mission constants just prior to launch.” http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/DeltaIIPayloadPlannersGuide2007.pdf
Reports indicate the launch is now scheduled for Saturday at 09:47 UTC. No confirmation yet from NASA, NOAA, or ULA. Assuming this date is confirmed, we’ll be here at 09:15 UTC on Saturday morning!
ULA CEO Tory Bruno has confirmed on Twitter that the launch will be Saturday morning. Here’s a look at the upper level wind patterns that have forced the postponement of the launch.
Less than 12 hours until launch!
Here’s a few screenshots from SatPC32 showing RadFXSat’s footprint in the morning! Note that these are approximate only, and we should have updated keps from NASA closer to/after the launch.
First is 1239z over Europe. If everything is going according to plan it should be in beacon mode.
Then at 1257z, Washington State, Alaska, and Eastern Russia will have a good footprint
After that, the first good pass for the US will be at 1727z
Good morning and welcome to this morning’s live blog. The NASA TV stream is now live. The countdown clock is at T-15 minutes and holding for a preplanned hold.
Weather briefing started.
Probablity of violation of 0% on weather. Upper level winds are favorable.
Now targeting the middle of the launch window: 09:47:36
T-15 minutes and counting! One more planned hold at T-4, a ten minute hold at 09:33 UTC.
Last weather balloon shows upper level winds are green.
Everything looks good for the terminal countdown.
T-4 minutes and holding. 10 minute preplanned hold.
Western range is green.
Sorry for the technical problems. Our server just can’t handle the load of a launch live blog it appears. Launch went well. Now in a coast phase prior to second stage restart and primary payload deployment. Looking at RadFxSat deployment around 11:09:16 UTC.
Second stage restart and cutoff good. Six minutes until JPSS-1 deployment.
JPSS-1 separation. 17.5 minutes until second stage restart for a ten second burn. RadFxSat deployment about seven minutes after the cutoff of that burn.
Cold gas evasive maneuvers complete. 10.5 minutes until second stage restart.
Second stage ignition.
About 5 minutes until deployment.
Deployment of RadFxSat confirmed! 55 minute timer should now be active. When the timer expires, the antennas will deploy and the transmitter will turn on.
RadFxSat is confirmed alive. Heard by the ZR1AIC WebSDR in South Africa. No telemetry capture yet.
1 00000U 17000A 17322.46057870 -.00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 00004
2 00000 97.6996 257.5922 0258900 235.2917 178.7268 14.79536000 07
IV3RYQ received the first telemetry. All values are nominal.