Mars Rover underway - launch commentary

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Mars Rover underway - launch commentary

Postby PomfretPlunge » Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:11 pm

Watched the Mars Rover get launched today on NASA TV. Beautiful, smooth launch on an Atlas-Centaur rocket. Atlas got her off the ground from Cape Canaveral, headed southeast over the Atlantic, Centaur separated and fired twice. First Centaur burn put the ship in parking orbit at 101 miles altitude, 16,000 mph speed. Down across Africa, second Centaur burn over the Indian Ocean for eight minutes accelerating at 4.5G to 25,000 mph. Clean spacecraft separation and out she goes into the deep black. Landing at Gale Crater on Mars scheduled for August 2012.


Here's some of the mission commentary from the launch.

---------------------------------------------

This is Atlas Launch Control.

Launch team, this is the NLM on the NLM net with our final launch poll, continuing the launch countdown at T minus four minutes.

NAM? NAM’s ready.
NASA CE? NASA CE, Go.
SMA? SMA is Go.
SMD? SMD is Go.
Mission Manager? Mission Manager is Go.

Copy that. The team’s ready to release the hold at T minus four minutes.
Status check to proceed with Terminal Count. Atlas systems:
Propulsion? Go.
Hydraulics? Go.
Pneumatics? Go.
L O2? Go.
Water? Go.

Centaur systems:
Propulsion? Go.
Pneumatics? Go.
LO2? Go.
LH2? Go.
AS Gas? Go.

Electrical systems:
Airborne? Go.
Ground? Go.
Facility? Go.
RF FTS? Go.
Flight Control? Go.
Instrumentation? Go.
Comm? Go.
GCQ? Go.
Umbilicals? Go.
UCS? Go.
Redline Monitor? Go.
Quality? Go.
OSM? Go.
ULA Safety Officer? Range, Weather, and Clear to Proceed? Go!

LC, this is the LD on Channel One. LC, you have permission to launch.

Roger, proceeding with the count.

NLM, this is SMD on NLM net.
Go ahead, SMD.
SMD would like to report that the spacecraft is on internal power and it’s configured for launch for a T-zero of 15:02:00.
Copy, SMD. MSL is configured for launch. While I have your attention, I want to wish the entire team that supported MSL – Good Luck and Godspeed. It’s been a long, challenging journey getting here, and we are proud to start you on the way to Mars shortly. NLM Out.

Thank you very much, NLM. We really appreciate the thought.

This is Atlas Launch Control, 90 seconds before coming out of this planned, built-in hold at T minus four minutes. Once we lift off, we’ll be hearing our telemetry manager Rob Gagnon from United Launch Alliance calling the flight events as the vehicle heads downrange. At T minus four minutes and holding, with a minute and a quarter remaining in this planned built-in hold, this is Atlas Launch Control.
Last edited by PomfretPlunge on Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mars Rover underway - launch commentary

Postby PomfretPlunge » Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:11 pm

T minus fifteen seconds.

T minus ten.
Nine
Eight
Seven
Six
Five
Four
Three
Two
One
Main Engine start.
Zero. And Liftoff! Of the Atlas V with Curiousity, seeking clues to the planetary puzzle about life on Mars.

<Rocket noise>

Program is in, right on time.
RD-180 operating with thrust as expected.
And throttling down to 76%.
Roll program complete.
And MSL is now breaking the sound barrier.
SRB chamber pressures, following the nominal curve. Everything looks good.
And we’ve passed through Max Q.

Closed loop on Atlas BU

SRB profile continues to look nominal.
Throttling back up to 100% thrust on the RD-180. Engine parameters looking good.
Coming up on SRB burnout, we have burnout of the SRB’s. Everything is looking good.
Ten seconds to SRB jet.

<Boosters fly off.>

And we have first pair, and second pair. Both sets of SRB’s have successfully jettisoned the vehicle. We have re-enabled guidance.

Vehicle is now 32 nautical miles in altitude, 54 miles downrange, travelling at 4900 miles per hour.
And we’ve throttled down, to hold a constant 2.5G level for Payload Fairing Jettison.
Approximately ten seconds.
<Fairing flies off>
Fairing jet! And we also have a successful CFLR jettison, throttling up on the RD-180, everything looks good. Coming up to 89% thrust.
Last edited by PomfretPlunge on Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mars Rover underway - launch commentary

Postby PomfretPlunge » Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:12 pm

Five seconds to Spacecraft Sep. Achieved our targeted roll rate.
We have spacecraft separation!
<Yeah!>

Mars Science Laboratory is on its way to Mars.
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