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Dec 05 2014

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Second verse, same as the first…Live blogging the Orion Launch

A big day for NASA, and from launch to splashdown, everything functioned perfectly. BRAVO ZULU from NewSpaceRaces!!

8:30: SPLASHDOWN!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!
8:26: Main chutes have deployed. Amazing live video from the on-station drone and from within Orion itself.
8:25: 24,000 feet. Forward bay cover jettison. This is the first step in deploying the parachutes.
8:24: Orion has gone subsonic.
8:22: Comms are back online. All looks good. 7 minutes to splashdown. NASA TV has some pretty cool video directly from Orion’s window.
8:20: Comms lost. Orion should be reaching its peak heating about now.
8:19 Orion officially enters the atmosphere, 400K feet up and going over 20,000 mph (84% of the re-entry speed of a ship returning from the Moon). It may lose comms as the plasma from the heated atmosphere envelopes Orion.
8:11: So far, everything has gone perfect for this mission, so much so that LM is going to be able to keep Orion on its own power longer than planned for more data collection.
8:03: Orion has turned using its thrusters so that it is in the proper orientation for entering the atmosphere.
7:59: The great thing about going to work on Friday is my company provides bagels and such. I’ve made me a ham & cheese bagel sandwich, and grabbed a boston creme donut and a banana. Yum!
7:28: Crew module separates from the service module. Once clear, the 2nd stage will conduct its third burn to steer it into the Pacific Ocean.

Here’s a good picture of the liftoff:

7:14: They’re predicting 8.5 g’s upon re-entry, and splash down only about a mile and a half from the pre-launch target. Pretty impressive!
7:11: 3647 miles, to be exact, and is on its way back to Earth.
7:08: Looks like Orion is just about at apogee at about 3600 miles above the Earth.
7:05: Up and running at the office. Checking NASA TV for the current status…

Next up: a 15 minute transit through the Van Allen belts. I’m off to work and will pick up live blogging again in about 45-50 minutes.

6:05: 2nd stage burn ceases. The burn lasted 4 minutes and 40 seconds.
6:03: If one defines LEO as up to 2000 nm, then Orion is now in an orbit that will place it above LEO and into MEO space.
6:00: 2nd stage engine reignition begins. In a few short minutes, a crew-capable vehicle will leave LEO for the first time in 42 years.

OK, NASA TV is showing replays of the launch, so I think it’s safe to step away from the computer for a bit. I’m going to get ready for work, but will be back in time for the second burn at 6:00am. Then I’ll hop in the car and hustle down to work to arrive around the time Orion has reached it’s max apogee, and then live blog it all the way to splash down. Here’s the mission profile, as a reminder:

4:22: Second stage cutoff complete. Next burn in about 97 minutes.
4:17: Orion passing 15,000 mph.
4:15: NASA TV shows video from one of Orion’s camera looking toward the limb of the Earth. Pretty cool.
4:13: 28.4 degrees inclination off the equator.
4:11: Second stage ignites.
4:10: Partial thrust on the core engine. Service panel faring panel separation.
4:09: Separation of the port and starboard boosters.
4:08: Orion now weighs half as much as it did at launch, having burned half its weight in fuel.
4:06: Orion breaks the sound barrier.
4:05: LIFTOFF!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!
4:04: Eastern range is clear and green.
4:03: T minus 2 minutes. We’re past where we were yesterday, and everything is still green.
4:01: T minus 4 minutes and counting.
3:59: All stations report “Go” for launch.
3:58: Orion on its own internal power.
3:57: Weather.com says the winds are only 10 to 15 mph from the ENE
3:55: I’m curious about the wind speed and direction. It really looks like it’s blowing harder than yesterday.
3:50: Here’s Lockheed Martin’s and ULA’s statement about yesterday’s scrubbed launch.
3:49: They just said no issues and the weather is green, so that’s good.
3:48: Ruh roh…Looks like the wind is blowing just as hard as yesterday. L-17 minutes.
3:42: I’m awake (barely) and on my way to the TV to see what’s up.

All times Pacific.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/12/05/second-verse-same-as-the-first-live-blogging-the-orion-launch/

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