RadFxSat (Fox-1B) Launch Live Blog

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

JPSS-1 Mission Profile – Courtesy ULA

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


Paul Stoetzer November 13, 201723:37

Live updates will be published here beginning at 09:15 UTC.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:16

Good morning and welcome to this morning’s live blog. We’re now 32 minutes from launch. The NASA TV feed is now live!

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:18

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:20

Ground winds are the one concern so far. Winds cannot exceed 26 knots. Probability of violation at launch time is 30%.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:22

T-15 minutes and counting!

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:23

Next event is a pre-planned ten minute hold at 09:33 UTC.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:30

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:31

ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno notes on Twitter that upper level winds are improving ahead of the launch.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:34

T-4 minutes and holding for a pre-planned 10 minute hold.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:41

New preliminary keps have been released

1 00000U 17000A 17318.46018519 -.00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 06
2 00000 97.6969 249.5697 0258300 235.3028 178.8186 14.79656332 06
Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:43

One station is No Go. Evaluating an alarm.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201709:46

Launch has been scrubbed for today. We’ll be back tomorrow at the same time.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201713:32

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.”

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201717:05

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201717:13

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201717:14

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

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201718:52

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

Paul Stoetzer November 14, 201721:30

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

Matthew Stevens November 15, 201703:50

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

Paul Stoetzer November 15, 201709:17

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 15, 201709:19

No technical issues at this time. Final planned weather briefing shortly.

Paul Stoetzer November 15, 201709:20

Probability of violation of weather constraint at T-0 is 0% at this time.

Paul Stoetzer November 15, 201709:24

T-14 minutes and counting. Planned 10 minute hold at T-4 minutes (09:33 UTC).

Paul Stoetzer November 15, 201709:31

Upper level winds are currently red.

Paul Stoetzer November 15, 201709:33

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 15, 201709:34

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 15, 201711:49

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.”

Paul Stoetzer November 15, 201713:30

A note on the winds aloft constraints for the Delta II rocket from the ULA Delta II Payload Planner’s Guide: “ 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

Paul Stoetzer November 16, 201701:25

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!

Paul Stoetzer November 16, 201713:33

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 17, 201722:05

Less than 12 hours until launch!

Matthew Stevens November 18, 201701:39

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

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201709:16

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201709:19

Weather briefing started.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201709:21

Probablity of violation of 0% on weather. Upper level winds are favorable.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201709:22

Now targeting the middle of the launch window: 09:47:36

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201709:23

T-15 minutes and counting! One more planned hold at T-4, a ten minute hold at 09:33 UTC.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201709:24

Last weather balloon shows upper level winds are green.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201709:32

Everything looks good for the terminal countdown.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201709:34

T-4 minutes and holding. 10 minute preplanned hold.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201709:35

Western range is green.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201709:37

L-10 minutes!

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201710:28

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201710:41

Second stage restart and cutoff good. Six minutes until JPSS-1 deployment.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201710:46

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201710:55

Cold gas evasive maneuvers complete. 10.5 minutes until second stage restart.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201711:04

Second stage ignition.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201711:05

About 5 minutes until deployment.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201711:11

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.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201712:24

RadFxSat is confirmed alive. Heard by the ZR1AIC WebSDR in South Africa. No telemetry capture yet.

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201712:25

New keps:

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

Paul Stoetzer November 18, 201713:03

IV3RYQ received the first telemetry. All values are nominal.