Nicodemus (nicodemusrat) wrote,
Nicodemus
nicodemusrat

Space Updates


  • Falcon Engine Failure -- That launch the other day? Not quite perfect this time. They had an engine shut down. Pressure in one engine chamber dropped sharply right around MaxQ during the stage 1 burn. The computer detected it, cut it off, and the engine went out with a final surge that blew out some protective ablative panels. The flight computer then rerouted fuel to the remaining 8 engines and rebalanced the trajectory. This is one of the failure modes they designed for so that their vehicle is redundant and it appears to have largely worked. Though they were unable to fully boost a prototype satellite (their secondary payload below Dragon) to its intended orbit since mission rules prevented it.

  • Curiosity Scoops First Martian Soil -- Curiosity is engaging in more of its science objectives. The rover previously used it's laser and spectrometer to examine a nearby rock. It has now pulled up a soil sample. Though operations are temporarily on hold as they've spied a small reflective speck near the rover. They believe it's a shred of plastic from one of the protective covers of the rover and not significant.

  • Voyager 1 Has Left the System -- Scientists are about ready to conclude that Voyager 1 has officially left the solar system. (They're waiting to finish analysis on one more data set of magnetic readings. They have already seen some convincing evidence in particle detector data.) Crossing this threshold would mean that mankind has sent its first object into literal interstellar space, outside of our sun's sphere of influence.

  • New Horizons is 1000 Days Away from Pluto -- Okay, 1007. Just come back and reread this entry a week from now. :)
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