Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA A 'Go' For Midair Capture Of Samples From The Sun

Date:
September 8, 2004
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
NASA's Genesis spacecraft crossed the orbit of the Moon early Monday, Sept. 6, on its way to the mission's dramatic finale over the skies of west-central Utah tomorrow. Genesis, bringing back samples of the solar wind, is NASA's first sample return mission since Apollo 17 returned the last of America's lunar samples to Earth in December 1972.

This artist's conception shows the Genesis spacecraft in collection mode, opened up to collect and store samples of solar wind particles.
Credit: Image NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA's Genesis spacecraft crossed the orbit of the Moon early Monday, Sept. 6, on its way to the mission's dramatic finale over the skies of west-central Utah tomorrow. Genesis, bringing back samples of the solar wind, is NASA's first sample return mission since Apollo 17 returned the last of America's lunar samples to Earth in December 1972.

An important milestone in the mission was met Monday morning, when the Genesis spacecraft performed its final trajectory maneuver before capsule release and the dramatic midair capture over Utah. The spacecraft passed the Earth-Moon orbit at about 2 a.m. Pacific Time on Monday, traveling at about 1.25 kilometers per second (2,700 miles per hour).

"Our Deep Space Network is allowing us to keep a close eye on our spacecraft and its samples of the Sun," said Genesis project manager Don Sweetnam of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It is right where we planned it to be. Everything is go. The navigators and engineers here at JPL are go, and the recovery team out in Utah is go, too."

The Genesis recovery team members, both ground support and the flight crews who will make the dramatic midair capture, have been undergoing flight training since arriving at the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, on Aug. 23.

"We came here with a specific set of mission goals that had to be met before Sept. 8, and those have all been met or exceeded," said Genesis director of flight operations Roy Haggard of Vertigo Inc., Lake Elsinore, Calif. "The next time these two helicopters take to the sky one of them will be landing with a spacecraft hooked to its belly."

The Genesis sample return capsule will enter Earth's atmosphere at 8:55 a.m. Pacific Time over Oregon. Two minutes and one time zone later, the capsule will deploy its drogue parachute at 33 kilometers (108,000 feet) over the vast alkali flats and sagebrush of the U.S. Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range. Waiting 29.5 kilometers (97,000 feet) below will be two helicopters and crew bearing the space-age equivalent of a fisherman's rod-and-reel, ready to catch some Sun.

"From the time the drogue deploys it will take about 18 minutes for the capsule to reach a height where we can get to it," said Genesis prime pilot Cliff Fleming of South Coast Helicopters, Santa Ana, Calif. "When we are up there that may feel like a long 18 minutes but we have been training for this moment since 1999, so in the grand scheme of things another quarter-hour or so shouldn't matter much."

The Genesis mission was launched in August 2001 on a journey to capture samples from the storehouse of 99 percent of all the material in our solar system -- the Sun. The samples of solar wind particles, collected on ultra-pure wafers of gold, sapphire, silicon and diamond, will be returned for analysis by Earth-bound scientists. The samples Genesis provides will supply scientists with vital information on the composition of the Sun, and will shed light on the origins of our solar system.

The Genesis events will be carried live on NASA Television Sept. 8 and will be webcast live at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/webcast/genesis/ .

JPL manages the Genesis mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, developed and operates the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

For more information about Genesis on the Internet, visit http://genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA A 'Go' For Midair Capture Of Samples From The Sun." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040908090621.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2004, September 8). NASA A 'Go' For Midair Capture Of Samples From The Sun. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040908090621.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA A 'Go' For Midair Capture Of Samples From The Sun." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040908090621.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

AFP (July 30, 2014) The European Space Agency's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) is takes off to the International Space Station on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

AP (July 30, 2014) Arianespace launched a rocket Tuesday from French Guiana carrying a robotic cargo ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins