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A Northrop Antares rocket carrying the same company's Cygnus supply capsule was scheduled to launch this afternoon to the Space Station from Wallops in VA, but it just got scrubbed due to a ground support issue. (Apparently a "regulator" wasn't regulating.) They want to go tomorrow, but weather may not cooperate.

https://twitter.com/northropgrumman/stat...1871895553

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020/02/...ss-flight/

Today's headliner act is still slated to perform. This will be a ULA Atlas from Cape Canaveral carrying Europe's Solar Orbiter into orbit around... the Sun.

It will be live-streamed here in about 3 hours:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30MLKGmVDuc

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https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020/02/...study-sun/

https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/...ar_Orbiter

T-15 minutes. All boards are green. Weather is good.

https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/122...3200926720

Edit: They just did the traditional launch poll, where they call out all the systems desks and they all answered "go!" You've all seen it in the movies ... builds the drama.

T-3 minutes. Fuel and LOX tanks are being pressurized.

Edit 2: Launch went well. Stage separation. Second stage is powering Solar Orbiter into a parking orbit. Then it will need to do another burn to leave Earth orbit and head for the Sun.

Edit 3: nominal orbit insertion. The next burn should be in about 30 minutes to leave Earth orbit and head for the Sun.

That burn will last about seven minutes, then the Solar Orbiter will separate and the second stage will perform what's called a "blowdown" in which it releases the pressure in its tanks like an impromptu thruster and assumes a trajectory slightly different than the Solar Orbiter, so that the spent stage which is headed in the same direction won't interfere with the mission payload.

https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/stat...9185638400

Edit 4: Second burn completed and Solar Orbiter is headed to the Sun.

https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/stat...6934884354

This satellite is a project of the European Space Agency and launched by NASA. It will orbit the Sun further away than NASA's Parker Solar Probe which is already there and kind of watch from above. One new thing this one will do is get a good look at what's happening at the Sun's magnetic poles which remain kind of mysterious, given the Sun's massive magnetic field. Nobody's gotten a good look at the Sun's poles yet.

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