Category Archives: In the News

New Horizons Mission

Today’s launch was scrubbed. Below is a blow by blow of how things proceeded through the launch window.

• 1:15 PM: T-4 minutes and holding. The launch has been postponed from 1:24 PM EST to 1:45 PM EST.

– Investigating a “fill and drain” valve on the Atlas V which failed earlier during topping off activities but has since return to functioning status.
– Wind levels are in the “red” for launch which is still OK but is prompting further monitoring.

• 1:27 PM: Still in the final built-in hold. Still go for 1:45 PM EST launch.

• 1:35 PM: Waiting for final report on upper level winds to release the hold at T-4.

• 1:39 PM: T-4 minutes and holding. The launch has been postponed from 1:45 PM EST to 2:10 PM EST. Today’s launch window will close at 3:23 PM EST.

• 2:06 PM: T-4 minutes and holding. A tracking station command transmitter (necessary for launch) in Antigua has gone offline. The launch has been postponed from 2:10 PM EST to 2:30 PM EST pending the station coming back online.

• 2:26 PM: The Deep Space Network has reported that is unable to support launch operations at this time.

– The launch has been postponed from 2:30 PM EST to 2:50 PM EST pending the issues with the DSN are resolved.
– Antigua reports that it is fully mission capable and green at this time.

• 2:31 PM: T-4 minutes and holding. DSN is back up and ready to support.

I had hopes of getting to see this launch from my house but after teasing me with broken clouds all morning — and through the initial launch times — it has now completely clouded over a solid gray.

• 2:43 PM: T-4 minutes and holding. The launch has been postponed from 2:50 PM EST to 3:05 PM EST. No further information, although I just overheard them uploading the latest weather data to the vehicle guidance system software.

• 2:50 PM: Today’s launch window closes in 34 minutes.

• 3:00 PM: T-4 minutes and holding. The launch has been postponed from 3:05 PM EST to 3:23 PM EST. NASA wants allow all time possible to understand ground level winds in order to ensure a safe launch.

• 3:15 PM: T-4 minutes and holding. The plan is to release the hold on schedule for launch at 3:23 PM EST while continuing to monitor the wind speeds at the pad. If the wind exceeds 33 knots the launch will be scrubbed for today.

• 3:19 PM: The count has resumed.

• 3:21 PM: NO GO at T-2 minutes 34 seconds for a “red line monitor fault.”

– Winds at the pad are exceeding 33 knots.
– Launch is scrubbed for today.
– The vehicle is currently being “safed” for a 24 hour recycle.
– The clock will be reset to T-4 minutes and holding status.

The launch window for tomorrow opens at 1:16 PM EST closing at 3:15 PM EST.

Images in this post are screen grabs from NASA TV.


Praise the Intelligent Designer!! A Pennsylvania school district can not teach the concept of intelligent design.

“We have concluded that it is not [science], and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents,” Jones writes in his 139-page opinion posted on the court’s Web site…

Read the CNN article.

One small step.

Moon and Mars Redux

The Moon and Mars were in conjunction once again last night, separated by about 1º. I happened to notice it through the trees in the west as I was bringing the dog in at about 1 AM. I had just come out of the studio and had taken a sleeping pill or I’d have been right out there with at least a telephoto lens. Fortunately someone else was on the ball I dropped. 🙂