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Orion flight test rescheduled for tomorrow (nasa.gov)
169 points by tempestn on Dec 4, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 72 comments

New T-zero time 7:17 EST

UPDATE ( 7:14 ) - Ground wind violation, Launch delayed.

UPDATE ( 7:46 ) - New T-ZERO time 7:55

UPDATE ( 7:53 ) - Launch on hold. Another wind violation.

UPDATE ( 8:15 ) - New T-ZERO time 8:26

UPDATE ( 8:23 ) - Launch on hold again.

UPDATE ( 8:28 ) - Left and center booster anomalies ( Valves sensors, showing not closed ). Quote from official NASA blog : "A fill and drain valve on the rocket did not function correctly. Standing by as rocket and spacecraft are safed."

Now 14:44Z (9:44 EST).

Sounds like they're disabling a bunch of automated safeguards (like the wind speed monitoring) to get this thing up.

And it's scrubbed. Back to work, everyone!

UDATE: 24-hr re-cycle.

UPDATE ( 9:30 ) - There is a new T-ZERO 9:44

They just said they're going to test the valves five times and give a recommendation to start the count or not.

It'd be really great if NASA found some particularly charismatic engineer to act as a colour commentator and talk about the technology at play. The silence while we wait for a new launch time is peaceful but a bit dull...

They could have Scott Manley do that. He does a great job with KSP, he'd do even better with real life stuff, I think. He knows what he's talking about, doesn't sutter or go "umm", and he sounds pretty hot.

"Hullo Its Scott Manley here!"

"Fly safe!"

Seconded. I learned just about all I know about KSP from that guy.

He'd make an excellent NASA caster.

Haha, seems appropriate given that the rocket in question looks exactly like the first thing everyone builds in KSP once they get the radial separators.

I'd nominate this guy. (Saturn V launch high speed video with commentary) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKtVpvzUF1Y


Get them to wear nothing, just to be safe.

edit - But it is what Jack Parsons would have wanted. Well, nothing but a goat skull, maybe.

I opened this up this morning to show my daughter at breakfast, thinking, hey, getting kids interested in this stuff is good.

Dead silence. Nothing. Not a word of commentary. To a kid, that conveys boring. I could hear some white noise and after a while some faint public address system speech way off in the background. So disappointing.

NASA, do you still have an educational component to your mission? It would be really great if these big launches were explained a bit on the live video feed. If there's nothing going on to explain, there should be a ton of material waiting from NASA history to fill the air time.

At least in the hours up to the launch, it was actually really good. There was a ton of content describing the intended launch, its goals, requirements, planning that went into it, etc. There was also a segment with Elmo (from Sesame Street) talking with an astronaut and an engineer (iirc) that I saw, and apparently another similar special "guest". They probably just didn't have as much planned for the period after the launch was aborted.

NasaTV looks like its struggling with load. Use http://www.livestream.com/spaceflightnow for a better stream.

Also remember what we might be taking for granted with this stream - THAT WE HAVE A LIVESTREAM.

Its not secret. Its not hidden. Its not classified. Its in the open. Ever seen our astronauts launch in a Soyuz from the Russian launch facility? No, because they don't stream it! Its certainly technically possible, its most likely administratively denied.

Being open requires more than a livestream. For instance I doubt the accelerometer data from the Orion itself is available, but its something. Fund public science. Make results public.

The Soyuz launch around two weeks ago was streamed. Granted, the footage was more or less constrained to the cockpit, but it was streamed.

http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv also seems to be working reasonably well.

It boggles my mind that a 12 year old playing DOTA can reliably stream to an audience but NASA can't figure it out.

EDIT: Seems they've swapped their stream for the ustream one, guess they can.

The number of viewers might be a bit different.

Admittedly looking at the figures on ustream it's a lot more popular than I thought it'd be, but still less than the higher end of what you see on Twitch, and they don't get to plan when a stream goes viral.

Twitch has had massive growing pains, it's taken them a very long time to get to a point where they are smooth under load.

For a long time the LCS broadcasts were always very stuttery on twitch, so much so that streams were also set up on Youtube and Azubu to help.

About 6months - 1yr ago twitch suddenly got a lot better in this regard but I certainly wouldn't expect NASA to do a better job than a site dedicated to streaming. (The 12yr old playing the game is a red herring, they're just streaming to twitch.)

Twitch previously were Justin.tv but switched to gaming as clearly it was a fast growing niche, otherwise their old platform would have been suitable for factual content like this.

> The 12yr old playing the game is a red herring, they're just streaming to twitch

That was basically what I was getting at though - if the 12 year old can stream off their home broadband to twitch reliably for free, why is NASA bothering with their own, worse streaming solution?

But to their credit NASA responded very quickly, took their own streaming off and embedded ustream instead, so I guess I don't really have anything to whinge about.

I would love to see NASA's PR people get their heads out of their arse and actually stream on Twitch, also won't mind CERN doing it. And yes while it might not get as many view's as the latest goat simulator bench play presented by an ex-porn star in a bikini it surely can expose tons of people to things that actually matter.

Yes, DOTA gets more views :(

What boggles my mind is that NASA TV is blocking the ability to stream to a Chromecast device. I can't fathom what they think they are protecting. I first noticed the problem when I wanted to watch the Rosetta landing and blew it off as an odd technical problem with my Chromecast that I needed to fix. Trying it again this morning, I realized that this must be something NASA TV is actively blocking. I've never seen this specific behavior on any other site.

Hmm.. I didn't watch Rosetta via Chromecast and I slept through this morning's activities, but I didn't have any problem casting a few videos from their site and the current 'live stream' (although it's a Ustream link right now).

I have ran into streaming issues in the past, but I don't think it's a site specific thing as much as it was Chromecasts lack of support for Silverlight. To watch Amazon Prime videos for instance, you need to go to some obscure setting and force Amazon to serve up Flash videos.

Does NASATV normally use Silverlight? That might be the explanation.. Although the last comment on this Reddit post indicates it's potentially something NASA could fix;


> I realized that this must be something NASA TV is actively blocking

that is a very strong conclusion to come to from two coincidental data points and no concrete evidence...

Maybe not NASA themselves since it looks like a third party host, but the way it displays the error, it looks like a conscience decision. Most video hosting sources go right through unless it's a .flv, Silverlight, or code to detect Chromecast and block streaming.

Does it though? Does it really?

Currently the launch is on hold for a couple of reasons:

1. There is (was?) a boat in the exclusion zone

2. The second stage propellant needs more conditioning

The hold was going to end in 2 minutes, they're going to cycle the clock to at least T-9mins when they've decided exactly when T0 is.

EDIT: as of 12:07 GMT we're at T-10mins.

I don't get why they don't launch if there is a boat. If there is someone with a death wish, that is his problem. Second time in a few months they have to scrub for a boat. Idiots should pay a lot of money.

I thought they were saying "bolt" instead of boat. I was confused as to why they aborted early on because of a bolt in the exclusion zone.

Scrub for today; trying again in 24h.

Fair enough, with the hardware cost, would be a mistake to launch without all systems in check.

True, but if they spent less time going from ready states to standby states and back again (aka recycling the clock) i bet they could have launched.

Awesome – the announcer just noted that there's a UAV which will be used to capture the final descent splashdown of the Orion capsule. That should make for interesting video. The UAV—Ikhana—looks to be a modified Predator:


That's amazing. SpaceX should get one of those too, I understand the restriction for manned flights when rockets or capsules are coming back down, but it was sure frustrating to miss the water 'landing' of that last Falcon-9 due to the chase plane staying so far from the scene.


Launch update: it's 12.45pm GMT. Time to launch in 10 min, 7.55am EST.

Update 2: at 7.53am EST, a new launch time being established due to wind anomalies.

New launch time: 08:26

You can also follow the NASA Twitter Feed: https://twitter.com/NASA

The coverage is switching between live launch coverage and other NASA stuff right now. Launch window opens at 7:05am EST.

Some bright soul seems to have sailed their boat into the launch area - looks like it is going to be delayed :(

I've never watched/listened to a live launch before. I'm finding it really interesting, terms like "race position", the alarm going off and the list of checks etc.

I'm really excited for this! Let's hope the wind dies down.

I've always wanted to know about the steady emission of what looks like steam/smoke(?) from the upper body (not nozzle) of the rockets in the pre-launch stage. Anybody knows more about that?

It's liquid oxygen venting.

Oxygen can be kept in a liquid state by either keeping the temperature extremely low or keeping it under high pressure. Since reinforcing the tanks to handle incredibly high pressures would require too much weight, the tanks are instead constantly being topped up with cryogenic fuel until the moment of launch.

As for the venting: the fuel starts heating up and evaporating as soon as it's pumped into the tanks causing the pressure within the tanks to rise. Since the tanks aren't rated for high pressure, they have to vent the excess oxygen to keep within safety margins.

That's liquid oxygen or liquid hydrogen cooking off.

NASA just showed the world that listening to data and showing restraint is far more important than grabbing a good headline. Kudos to them for doing the right thing.

I haven't really been following this - was this a previously announced and planned launch, before the news about Mars yesterday?

Yes, it's been planned for a couple of years.

Thanks. To the outside observer it seemed like the two were connected.

It's kind of like, NASA taking advantage of the Orion test flight press to get their Mars plan out there.

well, considering that Orion is intended for beyond LEO missions including Mars...

Orion is pretty unsuited for a mission as long as a Mars trip. So I doubt the spacecraft used for that would have anything to do with what they are currently calling Orion.

be my guest http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_%28spacecraft%29 . Search for "Mars".

Of course, it wouldn't be the "long-term deep space habitat" module - that would be a specialized module.

The two are connected, this is a test launch of Orion, the ship meant for taking us to Mars.

... This is just the crew module?

... propulsion is the interesting part of interplanetary travel. What is the propulsion tech for this?

This test flight is launching on a Delta IV Heavy, which is a pretty well proven launch system (first time NASA's used it, though, AFAIK).

Ultimately, Orion's supposed to be launched on NASA's new Space Launch System [1], but it's not ready yet. I believe the first scheduled test flight for Orion and SLS together is supposed to be sometime in 2017.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System

New T-ZERO just set at 14:44 UTC (and that's the last possible attempt for today)

And... bummer they've just scrubbed the launch for today :(

Anybody understood why the countdown was aborted with only 3 minutes left?

Wind. Again.

Engine bearing temperature trending the wrong way.

Everything is GO right now... Winds, too, finally.

...and aborted. :(

Just on hold.

Poop. Scrubbed for today.

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