Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coming Soon: The Sun In 3-D

Date:
November 10, 2005
Source:
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Summary:
Twin spacecraft designed to capture 3-D 'stereo' views of the sun and solar wind were shipped from Johns Hopkins to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for their next round of pre-launch tests.

Technicians and engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md., prepare one of the twin STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) spacecraft for shipment to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for additional pre-launch tests. Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

The first spacecraft designed to capture 3-D "stereo" views of the sun and solar wind were shipped today from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md., for their next round of pre-launch tests.

Related Articles


The nearly identical twin STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) observatories, designed and built by APL, were recently tested in APL's vibration lab where engineers used a large shake table to check the structural integrity of the twin spacecraft. These tests simulate the ride into space the observatories will encounter aboard a Delta II launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., where they're scheduled for launch in spring 2006.

"Delivery of the twin observatories to NASA is a program milestone," says Ed Reynolds, APL STEREO project manager. "Building two nearly identical spacecraft simultaneously was a technical and scheduling challenge, but one our team welcomed and tackled with extreme professionalism and dedication. With the design, construction and now delivery of the observatories to NASA Goddard, we're very excited to help NASA get one step closer to launch and capturing the first-ever 3-D images of the sun."

During the next three months at NASA GSFC, the twin observatories will undergo additional pre-launch checks including a series of spin tests to check the spacecraft's balance and alignment; thermal vacuum tests to duplicate the extreme temperature and airless conditions of space; and acoustic tests that simulate the noise-induced vibrations of launch. The mission team plans to transport the STEREO observatories to Florida in March 2006 for final launch preparations.

Swinging into Orbit

During the two-year STEREO mission, two nearly identical space-based observatories will explore the origin, evolution and interplanetary consequences of coronal mass ejections. These powerful solar eruptions are a major source of the magnetic disruptions on Earth and a key component of space weather, which can greatly affect satellite operations, communications, power systems, and the lives of humans in space.

To obtain unique "stereo" views of the sun, the twin STEREO observatories must be placed into different orbits where they're offset from each other and the Earth. One observatory will be placed ahead of Earth in its orbit around the sun and the other behind. Just as the slight offset between your eyes provides you with depth perception, this placement will allow the STEREO observatories to obtain 3-D images and particle measurements of the sun.

"This is the first time lunar swingbys will be used to place multiple spacecraft into their respective orbits," says APL's Andy Driesman, STEREO system engineer. "Mission designers at APL will use the moon's gravity to redirect the observatories to their appropriate orbits around the sun. This innovative mission design allows the use of a single launch vehicle."

After launch, the observatories will fly in an orbit from a point close to Earth to one that extends just beyond the moon. Approximately two months later, mission operations personnel at APL will synchronize spacecraft orbits, directing one observatory to its position trailing Earth in its orbit. Approximately one month later, the second observatory will be redirected to its position ahead of Earth.

STEREO is the third mission in NASA's Solar Terrestrial Probes Program. STEREO is sponsored by NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. NASA GSFC's Solar Terrestrial Probes Program Office manages the mission, instruments and science center. APL designed, built and will operate the twin observatories for NASA during the mission.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "Coming Soon: The Sun In 3-D." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051110084226.htm>.
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. (2005, November 10). Coming Soon: The Sun In 3-D. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051110084226.htm
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "Coming Soon: The Sun In 3-D." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051110084226.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Italy's first female astronaut safely docks with the International Space Station, according to NASA. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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