Giant Mars rover set for Saturday launch


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DocM

So did this thing take off or what?

Only perfectly. They scored a bulls-eye in the trajectory so perhaps no first mid-course correction. Engineering tests in December, landing on Mars first week in August.

i bet this gall's the Russians, they've failed to launch a mars mission a couple times now.

If Phobos-Grunt doesn't make a complete recovery real soon, 0-19 since 1960 when it comes to meeting mission objectives - or even getting there. That said: Russia has an experiment on Curiosity, so they're in this game too. It's called the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) experiment, which will detect hydrogen, ice, or water at or just below the Martian surface.

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leedogg

Only perfectly. They scored a bulls-eye in the trajectory so perhaps no first mid-course correction. Engineering tests in December, landing on Mars first week in August.

If Phobos-Grunt doesn't make a complete recovery real soon, 0-19 since 1960 when it comes to meeting mission objectives - or even getting there. That said: Russia has an experiment on Curiosity, so they're in this game too. It's called the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) experiment, which will detect hydrogen, ice, or water at or just below the Martian surface.

All the more galling that they need to rely on us because their program has been such a complete failure lol.

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DocM

It's not something to gloat over.

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DocM

Launch

MSL separation (rotation = spin-stabilization)

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neoadorable

thanks for the posts Doc! and i agree with you, this is nothing to gloat over, we need to all work together, i hope Roscosmos will learn from PG. heck i hope PG makes it still! so Curio is now coasting through space...how fast is she going exactly? i kinda wished they'd give us footage from the transfer to Mars, even if it's just blackness heh heh. why can't we have real high def cameras to show us what space really looks like when you're actually traveling through it? heh heh maybe because it doesn't look like much!

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DocM

Curiosity is going just over Earth's escape velocity of 25,000 mph.

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Kirkburn

Yeah, I believe it would just be the spacecraft in complete blackness, with just a single bright pinpoint light from the sun.

I'd love to see that too in HD, but it wouldn't be interesting beyond a few seconds.

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DocM

As for pics, the cameras are stowed inside the aeroskell so no pics that I know of, and most of the time the system will be in standby mode anyhow.

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mudslag



http://www.universetoday.com/91332/comet-curiosity-msl-looks-like-a-comet-as-it-heads-toward-mars/


What does a spacecraft look like as it lights-out for another world? This incredible time-lapse video was taken by astronomers at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium in Australia. The sequence shows a plume drifting against the background stars, probably caused by venting from the Centaur rocket stage that sent the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Rover on its way to the Red Planet, after it carried out a burn over the Indian Ocean on November 26, 2011.
Brisbane Planetarium Curator Mark Rigby said that he and photographer/amateur astronomer Duncan Waldron, along with another planetarium staff member were likely the only people who saw this amazing sight, as they have received no other reports of similar observations.
Rigby said they are ?are over the Moon ? or higher? from seeing the departure of the Mars Science Laboratory, its rocket stage and plume above Australia on Sunday. ?It is a real shame that we couldn?t have woken up everyone that didn?t have clouds,? Rigby wrote on the Planetarium?s Facebook page. ?Even we didn?t expect to see such a spectacle. Can you imagine the feeling if there had been a crew onboard heading for Mars??
Rigby first saw the plume at 2:15am local time, (16:15 UT) and said it was ?a one-degree elongated cloud of VERY easy naked eye brightness.? Duncan Waldron also saw it starting at about 2:30pm and began to photograph it until it faded. Nonetheless, he captured a unique timelapse covering 21 minutes until 3am.
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DocM

Here's the first 2 in the series -

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neoadorable

thanks for posting those video guys, pretty cool for a small craft like Curio! imagine a matter-antimatter ship initiating the burn...man i resent the people of the 22nd century!

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  • 1 month later...
DocM

There will be a midcourse correction - a minor one

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/m/news/index.cfm?release=2012-004

Trajectory Maneuver Slated for Jan. 11

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. -- An engine firing on Jan. 11 will be the biggest maneuver that NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft will perform on its flight between Earth and Mars.

The action will use a choreographed sequence of firings of eight thruster engines during a period of about 175 minutes beginning at 3 p.m. PST (6 p.m. EST or 2300 Universal Time). It will redirect the spacecraft more precisely toward Mars to land at Gale Crater. The trajectory resulting from the mission's Nov. 26, 2011, launch intentionally misses Mars to prevent the upper stage of the launch vehicle from hitting the planet. That upper stage was not cleaned the way the spacecraft itself was to protect Mars from Earth's microbes.

The maneuver is designed to impart a velocity change of about 12.3 miles per hour (5.5 meters per second).

"We are well into cruise operations, with a well-behaved spacecraft safely on its way to Mars," said Mars Science Laboratory Cruise Mission Manager Arthur Amador, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "After this trajectory correction maneuver, we expect to be very close to where we ultimately need to be for our entry point at the top of the Martian atmosphere."

The mission's schedule before arrival at Mars on Aug. 5 in PDT (Aug. 6 in Universal Time and EDT) includes opportunities for five more flight path correction maneuvers, as needed, for fine tuning.

The Jan. 11 maneuver has been planned to use the spacecraft's inertial measurement unit to measure the spacecraft's orientation and acceleration during the maneuver. A calibration maneuver using the gyroscope-containing inertial measurement unit was completed successfully on Dec. 21. The inertial measurement unit is used as an alternative to the spacecraft's onboard celestial navigation system due to an earlier computer reset.

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neoadorable

so how much fuel will this burn involve? otherwise, so glad the mission is going well, i keep thinking of Curio, flying quietly and dilligently through space, representing us humans. i can't believe it's been almost two months since the launch, we'll be watching the landing before you know it.

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DocM

so how much fuel will this burn involve?

Not much at all. They have plenty of reserves due to the near bulls-eye launch.

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neoadorable

cool, here's to Curio (literally does drink whiskey while typing this)! i hope she doesn't need any more course adjustments. BTW was looking at JPL's Curio tracking chart, and it's kinda weird that she's traveled like 150 mill KM but is actually quite close to Earth now heh heh. space travel is a mind bender, for sure.

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  • 6 months later...
DocM

The Mars Odyssey orbiter has been repositioned to support Curiosity's landing -

http://spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=37918

NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has successfully adjusted its orbital location to be in a better position to provide prompt confirmation of the August landing of the Curiosity rover.

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft carrying Curiosity can send limited information directly to Earth as it enters Mars' atmosphere. Before the landing, Earth will set below the Martian horizon from the descending spacecraft's perspective, ending that direct route of communication. Odyssey will help to speed up the indirect communication process.

NASA reported during a July 16 news conference that Odyssey, which originally was planned to provide a near-real-time communication link with Curiosity, had entered safe mode July 11. This situation would have affected communication operations, but not the rover's landing. Without a repositioning maneuver, Odyssey would have arrived over the landing area about two minutes after Curiosity landed.

A spacecraft thruster burn Tuesday lasting about six seconds has nudged Odyssey about six minutes ahead in its orbit. Odyssey now is operating normally, and confirmation of Curiosity's landing is expected to reach Earth at about 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5, as originally planned.

"Information we are receiving indicates the maneuver has been completed as planned," said Gaylon McSmith, Mars Odyssey project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, Calif. "Odyssey has been working at Mars longer than any other spacecraft, so it is appropriate that it has a special role in supporting the newest arrival."

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neoadorable

ExciTed! Taking Monday off so I can stay up and watch the whole thing on NASA TV. Hoping for the best, go Curio!

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