Follow the countdown and launch of the Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS rocket with the AMC-10 cable television broadcasting satellite. Reload this page for the very latest on the mission.

2137 GMT (4:37 p.m. EST)

The computer reset did not succeed. The launch team is now safing the pad so a team can be dispatched to continue troubleshooting the problem.

With the countdown halted for this unplanned hold, liftoff will be delayed past the planned 5:56 p.m. EST launch time. Today's available launch window extends to 7:06 p.m. EST.

2136 GMT (4:36 p.m. EST)

T-minus 65 minutes and holding. Clocks have been stopped. A computer reset is now being performed by the blockhouse crew in hopes of correcting the pneumatics charging problem.

2135 GMT (4:35 p.m. EST)

Countdown clocks will stop at T-minus 65 minutes.

2134 GMT (4:34 p.m. EST)

Troubleshooting is underway to cycle valves in order to get the downsteam charge valve to open. Thus far, initial efforts have been unsuccessful.

The Centaur liquid oxygen tank has reached 95 percent full level where it is being secured. Topping to 100 percent will be completed later in the countdown.

2128 GMT (4:28 p.m. EST)

The Centaur liquid oxyen tank has reached the 80 percent mark. The preps for first stage liquid oxygen loading and the fueling of Centaur with liquid hydrogen will be delayed while the pneumatics bottle charge problem is reviewed.

2125 GMT (4:25 p.m. EST)

The Anomaly Team has been asked to examine a problem with the Atlas first stage pneumatics. After bottle charging began normally, the system is now not holding a charge. Engineers are discussing.

2122 GMT (4:22 p.m. EST)

The Centaur liquid oxygen tank is now half full.

2115 GMT (4:15 p.m. EST)

The Centaur liquid oxygen tank has reached the 10 percent mark as fueling operations get underway at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for today's 5:56 p.m. EST launch of the Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS rocket.

2110 GMT (4:10 p.m. EST)

The chilldown conditioning of the liquid oxygen transfer lines at pad 36A is complete. The "go" has now been given to start filling the Centaur upper stage with its its supply of super-cold cryogenic oxidizer.

The liquid oxygen -- chilled to Minus-298 degrees F -- will be consumed during the launch by the Centaur's twin RL10 engines along with liquid hydrogen to be pumped into the stage a little later in the countdown.

2057 GMT (3:57 p.m. EST)

Safety officials have confirmed that the danger area around the launch pad is cleared of all personnel. This allows the "chilldown" procedure to start for thermal conditioning of the liquid oxygen fuel lines at pad 36A in advance of loading the Centaur upper stage.

2056 GMT (3:56 p.m. EST)

T-minus 105 minutes and counting. Clocks are ticking again following the planned half-hour hold.

The countdown will continue to T-minus 5 minutes where a planned 15-minute built-in hold is scheduled. Launch of the Atlas 2AS rocket with the AMC-10 cable television broadcasting satellite is still on schedule for two hours from now at 5:56 p.m. EST.

2052 GMT (3:52 p.m. EST)

The launch team has announced its readiness for the upcoming fueling operations as cryogenic liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants are pumped into the Atlas and Centaur stages. No problems were reported during the poll by launch conductor Ed Christiansen located in the Complex 36 Blockhouse. Launch director Adrian Laffitte then gave a "ready" status.

At launch pad 36A, workers have completed securing work following mobile service tower rollback. Christiansen has instructed them to clear the area.

2046 GMT (3:46 p.m. EST)

Ten minutes are remaining in this hold at T-minus 105 minutes. In about five minutes, a readiness check of the launch team will be performed by Lockheed Martin launch conductor Ed Christiansen in preparation for fueling the rocket.

2040 GMT (3:40 p.m. EST)

With the mobile service tower rolled back, the final securing of the launch complex is being performed before workers clear the pad. The hazardous operation of loading cryogenic propellants into the vehicle will begin after the countdown resumes at 3:56 p.m.

2029 GMT (3:29 p.m. EST)

The Air Force has announced there is one Collision Avoidance period, or COLA, that will prohibit liftoff for a few minutes during today's launch window. The COLA extends from 6:21:07 to 6:25:13 p.m. EST.

COLA cutouts occur to ensure the rocket isn't launched on a course that would take it too close to an object already orbiting in space.

2026 GMT (3:26 p.m. EST)

T-minus 105 minutes and holding. The countdown has entered a planned 30-minute built-in hold for today's launch of the Atlas 2AS rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The count has 45 minutes of holds scheduled over the course the evening that will lead to liftoff at 5:56 p.m. EST (2256 GMT). A second and final hold is planned at T-minus 5 minutes for 15 minutes. The holds are designed to give the launch team a window of time to work any problems that could arise.

So far, everything appears to be going smoothly in the countdown. Lockheed Martin is not reporting any issues.

2021 GMT (3:21 p.m. EST)

Coming up on the built-in hold in five minutes.

It has turned out to be a bright, sunny afternoon after rain showers peppered the area earlier this morning. There are still some clouds to the north but they appear to be moving clear.

As we drove into the base today, the large electronic sign at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station South Gate read: "Go Atlas, Go Centaur, Go AMC-10!" Today's launch will be the first rocket from the Cape in 2004.

2004 GMT (3:04 p.m. EST)

The mobile service tower is now clear of the rocket and continuing to roll to the parking location for today's launch.

Meanwhile, the launch team has begun the C-band system test.

1956 GMT (2:56 p.m. EST)

Launch conductor Ed Christiansen has given workers at pad 36A approval to start rolling the mobile service tower away from the Atlas 2AS rocket right on-time.

The structure wraps around the rocket, providing access to all areas of the vehicle during its stay on the launch pad. In preparation for fueling and liftoff today, the tower is moved a safe distance away, exposing the fully assembled AC-165 rocket for the first time.

The MST also is used to erect the vehicle stages on the pad. The first stage arrived on the seaside complex November 10. The Centaur was added on November 17. The AMC-10 spacecraft, already enclosed in the rocket's nose cone, topped off the rocket January 28.

1951 GMT (2:51 p.m. EST)

The navigation test on the rocket's Inertial Navigation Unit guidance computer has been completed. The INU final alignment is now underway.

1944 GMT (2:44 p.m. EST)

A poll of the launch team has confirmed everyone is "ready" for mobile service tower rollback. The retraction is slated to begin at 2:56 p.m.

1941 GMT (2:41 p.m. EST)

T-minus 150 minutes and counting. "Man stations for Integrated Launch Operations."

The full launch team has been assembled to oversee the final hours of the countdown for today's flight of the Lockheed Martin Atlas-Centaur rocket on a mission to deliver the AMC-10 communications satellite into orbit.

There are two holds, lasting for a total of 45 minutes, built into the countdown at T-minus 105 minutes and T-minus 5 minutes. Liftoff is targeted for 5:56 p.m. EST.

The countdown is being controlled from the Complex 36 Blockhouse where the 120-member team is positioned at consoles to monitor systems, fuel the rocket and perform final tests leading up to liftoff of this Atlas 2AS vehicle. The senior management team is housed in the Atlas 5 Spaceflight Operations Center (ASOC), a departure from the past use of NASA's Hangar AE Mission Directors Center for Atlas 2 and 3 rocket launches.

1940 GMT (2:40 p.m. EST)

Good afternoon from a warm, breezy Cape Canaveral Air Force Station where preparations continue for today's launch of the Atlas rocket. Skies are clearing and there are no significant technical issues being reported by Lockheed Martin officials.

1756 GMT (12:56 p.m. EST)

The countdown continues at Cape Canaveral for liftoff of the Atlas 2AS rocket five hours from now.

Here is a look at some statistics, according to Lockheed Martin and its customers for today's mission:

  • This will be the 580th flight of an Atlas booster since 1957
  • The 169th launch of a Centaur upper stage (including Atlas and Titan)
  • Centaur's 146th flight on Atlas
  • The 27th flight for the Atlas 2AS-model rocket with strap-on solid booster since debuting in December 1993
  • The first Atlas launch in 2004
  • AMC-10 is the 23rd satellite to be launched using the Lockheed Martin A2100 model spacecraft
  • For AMC-10 operator SES AMERICOM, this is their 9th A2100
  • This is the first of four launches SES AMERICOM plans in 2004 -- two on Atlas, two on Proton
  • If all goes well, today's launch will extend the string of consecutive successful Atlas flights to 69 dating back to 1993

We will begin our live reports on the countdown and launch beginning around 2:35 p.m. EST from the Cape.

1610 GMT (11:10 a.m. EST)

"All systems look very good for today and we're looking for a successful launch later tonight," Atlas launch director Adrian Laffitte said at the pre-launch news conference this morning.

The countdown is underway and liftoff remains scheduled for 5:56 p.m. EST (2256 GMT).

"It is shaping up to be a beautiful day," launch weather officer Lt. Darren Murphy added. "We do have a little bit of shower activity and clouds down to our south. But we do expect those to stay down in that region."

1406 GMT (9:06 a.m. EST)

START COUNTDOWN. Clocks at Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 36 are beginning to tick down for today's launch of the Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS rocket carrying the AMC-10 communications satellite for operator SES Americom. Launch is slated to occur at 5:56 p.m. EST (2256 GMT), the opening of a 70-minute window.

Throughout the day crews at pad 36A and in the Complex 36 blockhouse will proceed through their standard countdown chores needed to ready the Atlas booster and its twin-engine Centaur upper stage for launch, as well as the ground systems and AMC-10 spacecraft.

Highlights of activities planned, in the order they are scheduled to be performed, include Centaur propulsion launch preps, powering up the rocket's flight control system, Atlas propulsion and hydraulic systems preps, launch pad umbilical tower and mobile service structure preps, performing the flight control operational test, the internal power test of Atlas-Centaur, performing a navigation test of rocket's guidance computer, starting Centaur helium purges and starting liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen system final preps.

The Integrated Launch Operations -- the final portion of the countdown in which all members of the launch team participate -- will start at 2:41 p.m. EST (1941 GMT). Retraction of the mobile service tower from around the rocket is slated for 2:56 p.m. EST.

Countdown clocks will enter a planned 30-minute hold at the T-minus 105 minute mark starting at 3:26 p.m. During this time the launch team will have a chance to catch up on any work that could be running behind schedule.

Fueling operations will commence at 4:10 p.m. with super-cold liquid oxygen flowing into the Centaur upper stage. Loading of liquid oxygen into the Atlas booster stage should start at 4:36 p.m. The final segment of fueling begins at 4:50 p.m. when liquid hydrogen is pumped into the Centaur. The Atlas stage was previously fueled with its supply of RP-1 kerosene propellant.

A final planned hold is scheduled at T-minus 5 minutes for 15 minutes starting at 5:36 p.m. If there are no problems standing in the way of liftoff, the countdown will resume at 5:51 p.m. for an on-time launch.

We will provide play-by-play coverage of the countdown on this page beginning around 2:35 p.m. EST (1935 GMT).

1330 GMT (8:30 a.m. EST)

The latest weather forecast for today's launch opportunity is available here.

1600 GMT (11:00 a.m. EST)

In the Launch Readiness Review completed at Cape Canaveral this morning, officials confirmed that all systems are "go" for tomorrow's flight of the Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS rocket to place the AMC-10 cable television satellite into Earth orbit.

"Everything is looking really good. The weather is even looking a little bit better," Atlas launch director Adrian Laffitte said in an interview a short time ago.

Launch weather officer Darren Murphy is predicting a 70 percent chance of favorable weather conditions. That's up from a 60 percent chance given in forecasts earlier this week. Clouds and ground winds are the two worries as a weather system approaches the launch site.

"He said the ground wind is really a small, very slight concern. His biggest concern is that as a front is trying to move in, having anvil clouds shooting across and thick clouds," Laffitte said.

Liftoff is scheduled for 5:56 p.m. EST (2256 GMT), 24 minutes after moonrise and nine minutes before sunset on Florida's Space Coast.

The launch team will have 70 minutes -- to 7:06 p.m. EST -- to get the 521,500-pound rocket off the ground or else wait 24 hours.

Back up launch opportunities are possible Friday and Saturday, with 75-minute windows extending from 5:56 to 7:11 p.m. EST both days.

The weather looks bleak Friday with just a 20 percent chance of allowable launch conditions as that storm system moves through the area. Saturday's outlook is much improved with a 70 percent chance of the weather cooperating.

At pad Cape Canaveral's pad 36A today, workers are putting final touches on the 156-foot tall rocket and its payload.

"The vehicle processing has gone really well. We have a very happy customer," Laffitte said.

This will be the first Atlas rocket flight of 2004 and the year's first space launch from Cape Canaveral of any vehicle.

"We are the opening act for the Range," Laffitte said.

The countdown begins ticking at 9:06 a.m. EST (1406 GMT) tomorrow. The rocket, tail number AC-165, will be powered up at 10:26 a.m. After several hours of pre-launch preps and testing, the mobile service tower will be rolled away from the vehicle at 2:56 p.m., followed by the start of cryogenic fueling operations.

After lifting off, the rocket will head eastward from Florida along a flight azimuth of 101.8 degrees. Producing a smoke trail from its solid rocket boosters, the launch should be visible to spectators across the area if weather conditions permit.

We will have live updates on this page during the countdown and launch. A pre-launch news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow. We will begin our updating after that.

1420 GMT (9:20 a.m. EST)

Air Force meteorologists have improved the forecast for tomorrow's launch, but worsened the outlook for Friday and Saturday. See the forecast here.

0501 GMT (12:01 a.m. EST)

Some of the most popular television channels will reach millions of Americans via a new broadcasting satellite that goes up Thursday aboard a Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS rocket.

Launch of the AMC-10 spacecraft is scheduled for 5:56 p.m. EST (2256 GMT) from pad 36A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The evening's launch window extends 70 minutes to 7:06 p.m. EST (0006 GMT).

Read our launch preview story.


The weather forecast remains unchanged for Thursday's launch attempt of the Atlas 2AS rocket with a 40 percent chance of unfavorable conditions. The outlook for Friday's backup launch opportunity is significantly worse with a 70 percent chance of violating weather rules. See all the details here.


The early forecast for Thursday's launch opportunity is calling for a 40 percent chance of bad weather. Winds and clouds are the main concerns. See the full forecast here.