Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen during the pre-mission briefing. Photo credit: Jared Haworth / We Report Space
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER: Moments after the Parker Solar Probe was energy-positive, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate held an impromptu session with media gathered at the Kennedy Space Center Press Site.
Zurbuchen: “It was a textbook launch. When the Northrop Grumman third stage fired, we lost telemetry for a brief moment, but it came right back. This was my first time seeing a Delta IV Heavy launch. They tell you about the fire (that appears) before lift-off. You can read about the fire. But until you see the fire, you have to remind yourself that this is how it has to work.”
When asked about the scrub on the first attempt on Saturday morning: “We had two problems. First, a ground communications issue. Then, at 1 minute 50 seconds, a helium pressure sensor reported low. The helium is used to equilibrate pressure. It is supposed to dip at 1 minute and 50 seconds but it dipped further than we expected. It hit the red line and we were out of time to bring it back up.
Excess liquid hydrogen is burned off ...