VISIONS 49.001 Rowland Mission - Launch Season 2013

Thursday, Jan 31, 2013

Had a very good day at the range today. The team worked very hard to get
the payload "staged" on the rail, and we got through the first turn-on test
with everything connected together, including all four rocket motor stages.
We are getting ready to finish testing and arming tomorrow, and working to
ensure launch clearance for the start of our window. Weather is unpredictable,
winds have been good, but the clouds and snow come and go. The aurora forecast
is improving, with some solar activity headed our way Saturday and Sunday.

Friday, Feb 1, 2013

Today was another great day at the range. We received final clearance to
launch during our window, and completed vertical checks. The payload is in
good shape, and is ready for the launch window. The skies were mainly clear
last night, and we saw some great aurora after sunset. The solar activity /
aurora forecast is looking good for tomorrow, the first night of the window.
We've moved to night shift and are ready to go, hoping for a launch Saturday
night between 10 PM and 3 AM.

Saturday, Feb 2, 2013

We did not launch on the first night of our window (Feb 2). There were some
good auroral displays the previous two nights before our window opened, but
tonight was very quiet. We did have some very smooth countdown rehearsals and
from a technical standpoint everything is ready.

Sunday, Feb 3, 2013

We took a mandatory day off today to get the team refreshed and allow us to
count through the rest of the window without interruption. There was not much
auroral activity, and the skies were cloudy, so it was a great day to take off
and catch up on sleep. The fact that the Ravens came through with a victory
didn't hurt! The auroral forecast for tomorrow is much improved, and as long
as the skies remain clear enough, we will have a good chance for a launch.

Monday, Feb 4, 2013

11:06 pm - Science has been pretty steady for the last hour. Lots of energy
input from the solar wind but we don't see any signs of a big substorm release.
There were active aurora over central Canada about 930 PM, and the energy input
has been steady, but no visible arcs here or northwards. There was a faint arc
here but even that has faded. It's a bit mysterious. We do expect to see a
substorm and some auroral activity tonight, the question will be the cloud
cover and if we can determine the location of the auroral display enough to
launch.

Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013

Tonight was incredibly quiet. We are scrubbing now because we are very
close to the end of tonight's window, and there is a plane requesting
permission to fly through our downrange area. The solar wind was very quiet,
and only one very small substorm occurred, too weak for our launch criteria.
The team was able to pull together and meet some challenges, including a field
repair of the tracking radar. We are back on for tomorrow night, from 10 PM
to 4 AM. There is a "corotating interaction region" expected to arrive
tomorrow, and a CME the day or two after that, so we are hopeful for some
increased activity.

--Douglas Rowland
VISIONS Mission PI

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