DSCOVR Launch Slips to January 29

DSCOVR Launch Slips to January 29

NOAA announced today that the launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) will slip to January 29 in accordance with an Air Force decision.

DSCOVR is a NOAA-NASA-Air Force program, with the Air Force providing the launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9.   The NOAA announcement said only that the Air Force “acting in its capacity as the launch services provider with SpaceX, and with concurrence from NOAA and NASA, has announced a delay” in the launch to no earlier than (NET) January 29, 2015.  The announcement went on to say that “NOAA continues to monitor any risk to the schedule in close coordination with its partners….”

All three agencies are anxious to get DSCOVR to its destination, the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrange point, to provide operational space weather data.  NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite currently provides data, but is well past its design lifetime.

While the announcement was silent about the reason for the delay, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 cargo launch to the International Space Station (ISS) was postponed from December 19 to January 6 because a static fire test did not go as planned.  DSCOVR was scheduled for launch on January 23, so the slip to January 29 should provide a bit more breathing room for SpaceX. 

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