Space & Planetary Science: May 2018 Archives

Keith's note: Few people ever get a chance to fly something they helped to design in space. Even fewer people get to be a NASA mission Principal investigator. These missions are paid for by NASA and NASA is paid for by taxpayers. Contractual fine print aside, when you have a position like this on a NASA mission, you represent the agency - especially when you talk to taxpayers about it. In this case a taxpayer paid the New Horizons mission several compliments. And how does the mission's PI respond? He dumps on the positive things that the taxpayer says because he's ultra-sensitive about the whole Pluto is/isn't a planet thing. The proper thing to do would be to take the compliments when you get them and say thank you to those who paid for the party.

Insight Is On Its Way To Mars (with video)

"An Atlas V rocket lifted off at 7:05 a.m. EDT (4:05 a.m. PDT) from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying NASA's InSight spacecraft. The rocket is on its way, carrying NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) to begin its six month voyage to Mars."

NASA Deep Space CubeSats Are Alive And Well

"Mars Cube One, or MarCO, is a pair of briefcase-sized spacecraft that launched along with NASA's InSight Mars lander at 4:05 a.m. PDT (7:05 a.m. EDT) today from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California."

JWST suffers new problem during spacecraft testing, Space News

"In a presentation at a meeting of the National Academies' Space Studies Board here May 3, Greg Robinson, the JWST program director at NASA Headquarters, said some "screws and washers" appear to have come off the spacecraft during recent environmental testing at a Northrop Grumman facility in Southern California. Technicians found the items after the spacecraft element of JWST, which includes the bus and sunshield but not its optics and instruments, was moved last weekend from one chamber for acoustics tests to another to prepare for vibration testing. "Right now we believe that all of this hardware - we're talking screws and washers here - come from the sunshield cover," he said. "We're looking at what this really means and what is the recovery plan." The problem, he said, was only a couple of days old, and he had few additional details about the problem. "It's not terrible news, but it's not good news, either," he said."

Keith's note: "It's not terrible news?" Really, Northrop Grumman? The spacecraft was designed such that every part was included for a reason, yes? If the parts are falling out during routine ground handling that means something went wrong. After how many years of delays and billions in cost over runs, Northrop Grumman can't even keep bolts properly tightened on the spacecraft?


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This page is an archive of entries in the Space & Planetary Science category from May 2018.

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