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GPS IIF-2 Wet Dress Rehearsal - SpacePod 2011.06.09

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Jessica Rye: Good morning, we're here today at space launch complex 37. And what you see behind us is actually a Delta IV rocket. It's going to be launching the GPS 2F-2 satellite in July. What's going on behind us is we are moving the mobile service tower. And that is the giant building that you see moving away from the rocket right now. That building that we're moving right now weighs just over 9 million pounds (4 million kg). It's about the height of a football field and we're actually going to move it an entire football field back so that we can conduct this wet dress rehearsal today, which is in preparation for our launch. Captain Stephen Nielson: So what you're looking at is the GPS 2F-2 wet dress rehearsal. What it is is a ULA operation and what they're doing is they're going to be rolling the mobile service tower back and then fueling the Delta IV booster. Basically what they're trying to do is verify that the booster is fully functional and basically they're trying to iron out any of the kinks in the fueling system before the spacecraft arrives and is mated to the booster. Basically the GPS satellites are manufactured out in California and they're fully tested out in California and once a satellite is ready to go, they'll ship it here to the Cape. The GPS 2F-2 satellite will ship to the Cape on April 20th very early in the morning. And basically what we did is we received the spacecraft, transported it into an area called Area 59 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where we unpackaged it from the shipping container and then perform a few weeks of compatibility testing and post-factory functional testing of the spacecraft. Doug Lebo: Hi! Welcome to the LCC. Doug: Well, today we're performing a wet dress rehearsal, what we call a WDR. And in that test we are loading cryogenic fuels, liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen onto the Delta rocket to validate the vehicle's readiness prior to erecting the spacecraft. Jason Rhian: So basically the whole intent is to make sure that you don't have the spacecraft all the way up there and then you find a problem that you have to fix with the rocket and take it all back off again. Doug: Exactly. Jason: Now, the wet dress rehearsal, how long does that basically encompass here? Does it take the whole day? A couple hours? How long does it take? Doug: Ah, it's pretty much the whole day. The countdown from the start of it till T-0 is about 12 hours and then after that we have de-tanking to take the propellants back off the rocket and securing usually takes overnight. So overall it's almost a 24 hour operation. Jason: Really? Almost an entire day? Doug: Right. Jason: Went out to the launch pad, saw the rocket. It was amazing! It was different seeing it in that configuration. And the good folks at ULA took us around, showed us all this really cool stuff and then we are about to head out and I see this replica. I'm a big replica model fan. And then I look up ... And as you can see, when they got the replica here, they didn't quite understand that the replica was taller than the ceiling, so they had to modify the ceiling and put this concave section so that the rocket would fit.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 50 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 65
Posted by: spacevidcast on Jun 10, 2011

CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. -- When one thinks of rockets the image that was presented during what is known as a Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) of a Delta IV medium -- does not exactly fit the mold. The WDR is conducted by United Launch Alliance (ULA) to test out the Delta's systems prior to spacecraft integration and launch. Although not all elements of the Delta IV medium are in place, enough are present to accomplish the objective of testing if the rocket is ready for flight.
"With the WDR we load cryogenics, liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, onto the Delta rocket to validate the vehicle's readiness prior to attaching the spacecraft," said ULA's Assistant Launch Conductor Doug Lebo. "This way if there is any kind of problem with the rocket we will know before the satellite has been mated with the launch vehicle."
The Mobile Service Tower or MST for the Delta IV medium is about the height of a football field, weighs approximately 9 million pounds and is rolled back around 360 feet on two massive wheels to expose the rocket. The entire process of moving the structure back takes between 20 and 30 minutes. From there controllers over at the rocket's Launch Control Center test out the rocket's launch readiness.
This Delta IV rocket will carry the GPS 2F-2 satellite to orbit. The satellite is the second block 2F of the GPS navigation series.
"These GPS satellites are manufactured and fully tested out in California, when ready they are then shipped here to the Cape," said Captain Stephen Nielson a spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force. "The GPS 2F-2 satellite arrived at the Cape in the early morning hours of April 20, we then unpackaged it and performed two weeks of compatibility testing to makes sure it was ready for launch."
The Delta IV medium that will be used on this flight is the 4, 2 configuration that has two solid rocket boosters that provide the extra thrust required to achieve orbit. The launch is currently slated to take place on July 14 at 2:51 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 37B.

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