Fingers Crossed.. (updated)

We’ve got Kepler now starting it’s science mission after finishing commissioning, Atlantis at the Hubble Space Telescope for the final repair mission and in just over 1 hour the ESA will launch a single rocket with both the Herschel infra-red space telescope and the Planck CMB telescope. That’s two very expensive satellites sat on top of a rocket with a rather chequered launch history!

Best of luck folks (which is also what the Mars Exploration Rover “Spirit” needs given it’s gotten itself stuck on Mars!)..

Update: So far so good, first and second stages ran and separated OK, third stage running at the moment prior to separation of Herschel and Planck.

Update 2: Third stage burn complete, in ballistic phase.

Update 3: Herschel separated from third stage!

Update 4: The cylinder protecting Planck has been jettisoned.

Update 5: Planck has separated from the third stage!

That’s it for me for tonight, it’s almost midnight here…

Update 6: ESA has established communications with both telescopes and currently they’re both looking good for their journey to L2.