NASA EOS TERRA Satellite Launch NASA EROS Tape 2

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A 1999 video on the NASA EOS TERRA Satellite Launch NASA/EROS - Part 2


Date Taken:

Length: 00:39:15

Location Taken: Sioux Falls, SD, US


… until we – after we’ve
already picked up the countdown.

- Oh, okay.

- We can go all the way down to the T minus 100 second mark, which is where the ground launch sequencer takes over automatic control of the countdown, down to main engine start.

So, at any rate, we’re going to continue to plan for a launch 10 seconds before the end of the window And wind data is coming in in the meantime.

We may have that go here momentarily on those winds.

That’s a go on the upper-level winds.

Standing by to pick up the count.

Countdown picking up in one minute.

At T minus 5 minutes and holding, this is Atlas Launch Control.

- Commence task 9. [inaudible] count.

Any no-go condition will be reported as stop commit.

Check 901.

On my mark, the time will be T minus 5 minutes and counting.

Five, four, three, two, one.


Check 902.

Check 903.

- Check 904.

Check 905.

- This is Atlas Launch Control at T minus 4 minutes, 45 seconds, and counting.

We’re pressing toward a lift-off time at 10:57:39 Pacific time.
The next milestone in the countdown will be when the ground launch sequencer takes control of the count for the last 100 seconds.

That will occur at about a minute and 40 seconds before the main engines and the solid rocket boosters ignite

At T minus 4 minutes, 12 seconds, and counting, this is Atlas Launch Control.

- Sending green.

- Check 909 and 908.

- SRB and ground pilot systems are armed and ready for launch.

Centaur power is internal.

Check 910.

- [inaudible] is auto-armed. IMU is launch-enabled. Check 911.

- Check 454.

- RCO.

- Check 912.

- This is DROC in countdown net one.

Range is green. Check 913.

- OSM.

- … leave the [inaudible] – the [inaudible] off as well.

This is Atlas Launch Control at T minus …

- Start on my mark.

- … 1 minute, 45 seconds.

- Five, four, three, two, one.


- Ground launch sequencer now controlling.

- [inaudible] internal. Check 915.

- Check [inaudible].

- Check 916.

- Check 917.

- T minus 1 minute.

- Check 918.

- Next milestone will be at T minus 40 seconds.
- Status check.

Go Atlas.

- Go Centaur.

- Check 919.

- 920 is in work.

- We are through where we cut off on Thursday.

T minus 30 seconds and counting.

T minus 20 seconds.

T minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Main engine start.

And lift-off of the Atlas rocket with Terra, flagship of the Earth Observing System.

T plus 40 seconds.

Standing by for solids – first set of solids to separate.

- Check 1007.

- Check 1008.

- Check 1009.

- [inaudible], please set your control valve position to open.

- Copy. Thank you.

- We’re getting telemetry back from the spacecraft.

- Check 1010.

- Did we have 1009?

- And there go the ground lift solids.

- Yes, we have a check on 1009.

You have a check 1010, and you have a check on 1011.

- Check 1012.

- And there are the air-lit solids.

- Check 1012 and 13.

- 1014 in work.

- Check 1014.

- And we have thruster thermal conditioning firings in preparation [inaudible] …

- 1015 in work.

- .. have Atlas PU to open loop and prep for [inaudible].

We have booster engine cutoff.

- Check 1015.

- And we have indication of booster section separation.

Sustainers continuing to burn normally.

- FO.
- 1016 is in work.

I still have power on.

It won’t turn off.

- And we have fairing jettison.

- Cannot give you a check on 1016 at this time.

- Everything looks good. Sustainer continues to operate normally.

- We still have a hydraulic pump running.

- I understand.

- And everything’s looking good.

Flight control, disturbances are normal.

- Check 1017.

- Check 1018.

- 1019 in work.

- And we’re now one minute away from nominal sustainer engine cutoff.

Sustainer continues to burn normally.

Everything good.

And flight control, disturbances look normal.

Coming up on 30 seconds to SECO.

Everything is looking good.

- FMO.

- It’s in work.

Step 1019 is still in work.

- Thank you.

- Atlas P is continuing control as expected. Sustainer operating pressures look good.

- Check step 1006.

- [inaudible] flying high, straight, and normal.

- And we have sustainer engine cutoff.

- Check 1019.

- And stage separation.

We have pre-start on fuel.

We have pre-start on locks.

Housing temperatures are dropping as expected.

- Check 1020.

- Secure Centaur engine chill-down system. Check 1021.

- We have had a telemetry format change.

We have ignition. And full thrust.

We have two good Centaur engines up and running.

We are now in first burn of Centaur – only burn of Centaur for the mission.

- Check 1022.

- A nominal 369-second burn. Followed by a 150-second [inaudible] of spacecraft separation.

And we have Centaur PU to fixed angles. Everything looks good.

And we see good steady-state operating levels on both Centaur engines.

And both hydraulic power packs are up and running, steady-state levels.

Everything looking good on Centaur.

- Check 1023.

- And vehicle rates are very benign [inaudible] zero.

Engine positions looking good.

Both Centaur engines are operating normally.

- [inaudible] do have fires down by the retention basin.

- And we are in the process of the purge firing for the reaction control system 

- Check 1024.

- … [inaudible] thruster loop.

Responses are normal, and we’ve gone to closed-loop control on the PU system.

- Vehicle now at about 240 miles in altitude, 374 miles down-range. 7,700 miles an hour.

- And we’re seeing the expected roll rate to separation attitude.

- Let us know when it comes on.

- [inaudible] maneuver is right as expected.

And both Centaur engines are operating normally.

We’ve completed another thermal conditioning firing.

Temperatures respond as expected in the thruster loop to that firing.

And we’re seeing normal Centaur PU activity.

And flight control, disturbances look just fine.

- No data for mark event 5.

Mark event 6 – 19, colon, zero, zero, colon, two, six point zero, six, two.

- And Centaur PU is moving towards a nominal mixture ratio. Everything looks good there. 

Engines responding as expected to the changes in mixture ratio.

- Marked event 7 – 19, colon, zero, zero, colon, two-niner point seven, two, two.

- And we’re now at three minutes.

- … [inaudible] off.

- [inaudible] one. Everything looks good.

Reaction control system activity is normal.

- Marked event 8 – 19, colon, zero, zero …

- Centaur engines are perfectly normal. Signatures just fine.

- … [inaudible] five, two, two.

- And we see good signal strength on the FTS system.

Hydraulics are up and running normally.

Acceleration is right as expected.

- TC, the water isnshut off in [inaudible].

- Marked event 9 …

- And we’re seeing very good engine positions.

- … 19, colon, zero, [inaudible], colon …
- Vehicle rates look good.

- … four, zero point zero, zero, two.

- Centaur PU activity is very benign. Everything looks perfectly normal.

- Check 1026.

- We are now coming up on two minutes to MECO.

- Check 1027.

- Check 1028

- And everything is continuing to operate normally. Acceleration levels are right as expected.

- Check 1029.

- [inaudible] very benign. PU activity is normal.

- Check [inaudible].

- Everything’s looking good.

And we are in the process of another thermal conditioning firing on the [inaudible] system.

Thruster loop temperatures are very benign – 43 degrees.

- Check 1034.

- Right as expected.

- Vehicle now 798 miles down-range, 366 miles in altitude.

- All tasks continue to operate at normal levels.

- Velocity 9,800 miles an hour.

- We have a fire going by the retention basin. A lot of smoke.

- And we’re at 60 seconds to main engine cutoff.

- Hold off on marked event 10. Marked event 11 – 19, colon, zero, two, colon, four-niner point five, zero, two.

- And another thermal conditioning firing. Again, temperatures looking good.

- Check 1037.

- 408 miles altitude.

- Twenty seconds to MECO.

- 1,200 …

- Continues to operate normally. Everything looking good.

- 1,200 miles down-range.

- And we’re having a thermal conditioning firing, [inaudible] thrusters in preparation for MECO.

Signatures are normal there.

And we have main engine cutoff.

We have [inaudible] engines on as expected.

Normal signature on shutdown.

- And the …

- All packs have shut down as expected.

- Velocity at cutoff was 16,315.

- And we have disabled the FTS system.


- And we are now in 150-second [inaudible] of spacecraft separation.

- Spacecraft separates at 13 minutes, 40 seconds.

- And we are now turning to spacecraft separation attitude.

- Ready.

- We have switched to [inaudible] engines on.

- [inaudible] is ready.

- FA?

- Ready.

- FO?

- FO is ready.

We do have still smoke on the retention basin and grass fire.

There is some vapor coming off the [inaudible]. I think it’s [inaudible].

- Twelve minutes into the flight.

- And we are receiving [inaudible] telemetry data.

- Ready.

- Communications now – communication through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. 14,000 …

- And we have nulled rates out in preparation for spacecraft separation.

- There’s a [inaudible] access [inaudible].

- Ready.
- 16,861 miles an hour is the velocity. 1,400 [inaudible] …

- [inaudible] nominal [inaudible] spacecraft separation. Rates look good.

- FOC?

- Ready.

- Tank pressures are good. Battery voltages are normal and steady.

- Separation in one minute.

- Check [inaudible].

- Velocity now 17,310 miles an hour Should have quite a round of applause here in the Mission Director Center.

- We have a lock on the [inaudible] data.

- And we have a report of good [inaudible] channel data.

- Thirty seconds to separation.

- Thirty seconds to spacecraft separation. [inaudible] all drop-outs from TDRS data.

Ten seconds to spacecraft separation. Rates continue to look normal.

- We see the only damage on MST apparently is the roll-up door covering that I can see right now too

- And we have spacecraft separation.

- Everyone’s very happy here in the Mission Director Center.

- [inaudible] continue the post-separation operations. This concludes the commentary for the flight of AC-141.

- And we’ll continue here to monitor the flight for a few minutes.

- [inaudible] playback mode at this time.

- The next thing to occur will be the deployment of the solar arrays and establishing contact with the spacecraft for that activity after it’s on its own. And we will be going into the replays now of today’s launch of Terra on the Atlas rocket while we continue to get additional data on how the spacecraft is doing.At 14 minutes, 40 seconds, into the mission of Terra, this is Atlas Launch Control.

- CC, NSC.

- Go ahead.

- Okay, I don’t know in the celebration out here if you picked up that it checked off at 1006.

- Yep. We did. We did get that.

- Yeah, it was – it’s a little hectic out here, and thanks for the [inaudible]. And NSC off the net.

- Okay

- We have a check on 1050 – on 1050.

- Check 1048.

- Check 1045.

And we are going to leave the flare stack on until we know the fire next to the launch site is out. Roger.

- Got a check on 1046.

- TC, did you copy that on 1047?

- I got it.

- [inaudible] copy.

- This is CTC.

We normally secure that as part of launch securing procedure 107.

And we will secure it for that.

- This is Atlas …… Launch Control at 18 minutes, 20 seconds into the mission.

As you can hear, we have a very happy team here in this room.

It appears that thespacecraft is doing very well.

We have with us Mike Benik, the acting director of Expendable Vehicles from the Kennedy Space Center.

Mike, from your perspective, as the Atlas was flying to deliver Terra to its target, how did the flight look to you?

- George, everything was nominal.

We had some trials there right at the very end.

We went for the end of the window, as you know.

We did have some problems with upper-level winds because of the front thatmoved in late in the count.

We were able to recover from that and target for the end of the – end of the window.

Got off just in time, and everythingi n the plus count was perfect.

It was a beautiful flight.

- So you really had nothing to lose by targeting the end of the window and then just waiting for that data to come in. Is that right?

- That’s correct. This is something that we’ve done in the past, and we don’t like to do it, but we
have the capability to load the flight software for our ascent trajectory late. And we needed that capability today because of the fast-moving weather that came through.

- And what was your – what were your thoughts as the vehicle was flying, when you saw some of these milestone events, such as the solids coming off and the stage separation, that kind of thing?

Did it all look pretty much as you would have expected it to?

- Oh, it was beautiful.

There were, you know, a lot of firsts on this mission, as you know.

One of the primary things that was very visible was the fact that we held on to the ground-lit solids until rather late in the boost flight.

And that functioned just as we had planned. Everything was nominal.

The vehicle, of course, as you have mentioned, I’m sure, in some of the pre-launch commentary, had been on the pad for so long so it was almost surrealistic to see it actually in flight after 27 months on the pad. It was a beautiful sight for everyone here.

- Have we heard anything now from the spacecraft as far as what’s going on?

- The last report I hear from the gentleman next to me, they – one of the major flight events after they separate is the deployment of their solar arrays.

And I understand that some of the preliminary events have occurred already for that and that they should be in pretty good shape.

We separated nominally.

The rates were all nominal.

And it sounds like they’re getting a lot of good data over there, and that’s from the side – what I can hear from the sidebar here.

- So, then, as far as the launch is concerned, while we still need to wait to be sure that the spacecraft is functioning properly over the course of the first orbit, from a launch standpoint, it appears that it’s been very successful.

Is that your assessment?

- That’s correct, George.

Looks like, just from some of the preliminary data that I had on my screen before I came up here, we were targeting for an apogee of about 373 nautical miles and hit 375, which is very good.

Perigee, we were targeting for 353, and we did 353.

Inclination, 98.3 degrees, and we hit 98.25.

So can’t ask for much better than that.

It was an excellent flight.

- That’s great.

Well, congratulations, Mike.

Thank you very much.

And I know we’ll be here – back here at Vandenberg many more times over the next three years doing many more launches for the Earth Observing System.

- That’s right.

And we look forward to it.

- Thank you very much.

- Okay.

- At 21 minutes, 47 seconds, into the flight of Terra, this is now Terra Mission Control.

- We’re 28 minutes, 49 seconds, now into the flight of the Terra spacecraft, now well on its way on its first orbit.

We’ve had confirmation that the solar array is deploying as anticipated, that it’s functioning properly.

But we still have to deploy the high-gain antenna, complete the solar array deployment, and make sure that both are functioning properly.

So for that, it will need all of the first orbit, which is about 99 minutes in duration.

So, while we can’t completely declare a mission success yet, we have certainly had a launch success.
So, as the Terra spacecraft now continues on its first orbit to put itself into an operational configuration, that will conclude our launch commentary from the Mission Director Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

This is Atlas Launch Control.