http://apollo-society.org/spaceupdate.html

SPACE UPDATE
3 December 1999

Contents

Top Story

Living in Space


Robotic Space Exploration

Planetary Probe Updates
(Ordered chronologically by launch date)


Space Update

is a service of

THE APOLLO SOCIETY

P.O. Box 61206
Honolulu, HI 96839-1206
WWW: http://apollo-society.org
EMAIL: capcom@apollo-society.org

Gregory A. Smith
Editor

Chris Peterson
Associate Editor

Dale M. Gray
Contributor



 Archive
TOP STORY

Mars Polar Lander - Mars Landing Today!

The Mars Polar Lander and the Deep Space 2 probes have arrived at Mars.

See more in the Mars Polar Lander section below.


China Launches Spacecraft Leading to Human Spaceflight

On Saturday, November 20, China launched its first Shenzhou ("Vessel of the Gods") spacecraft. The successful test launch of the uncrewed spacecraft takes China a big step closer to its goal of becoming the third country, after the Soviet Union/Russia and the United States, to launch humans into space. Shenzhou was launched on anew model of the Long March rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch center in northwest China, orbited Earth for 21 hours, and landed early Sunday in inner Mongolia. China has not announced how many test flights will be flown before the first Chinese astronauts are launched aboard Shenzhou. It had been hoped that the first crew would be launched by October 1, 1999, the 50th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. That anniversary has passed, but Beijing newspapers have reported that China may try to put humans in space before the end of this year.
by Chris Peterson - 22 November 1999
Source:
China launches, lands first unmanned spacecraft CNN Space Tech


Shuttle Launch to Repair Hubble Delayed Again by More Wiring Problems

Discovery's launch to take a crew to repair the Hubble Space Telescope has been delayed again. Cracks found in the insulation of some wiring on Endeavour led to the discovery of similar problems with Discovery. The repairs needed are fairly simple and can be done while Discovery remains at the launch pad. Launch had been scheduled for December 6. The new launch date is December 9. The Hubble Space Telescope was idled on November 13 by a gyroscope failure. With only two functional gyroscopes, Hubble is unable to point with sufficient precision to conduct scientific research. Discovery's crew will replace all six gyroscopes and conduct other repair and maintenance work on Hubble.

See more in the Space Shuttle section below.

MCO Failure Board Releases Report

On November 10, the Mars Climate Orbiter Mission Failure Investigation Board released the initial results of its investigation into the causes of the September 23 loss of the MCO spacecraft. The Board confirmed that the root cause of the loss was the failure to convert English units of rocket thrust (pounds) into metric units (Newtons) in a segment of navigation-related software. This resulted in MCO coming too close to Mars, where the spacecraft was probably torn apart in Mars's atmosphere.

See more in the Mars Climate Orbiter section below.

STAR TRACKER PROBLEMS PUT DEEP SPACE 1 IN SAFE MODE

Deep Space 1's star tracker instrument, which has experienced problems for more than a year, has once again caused the spacecraft to put itself in a safe standby mode. There have been a number of instances in the past when the star tracker has been briefly unable to determine the spacecraft's precise orientation. Previously, normal operation has always resumed in a matter of seconds or minutes, but the current malfunction, which began on November 11th, has not yet been rectified. The spacecraft will remain in safe mode, with non-essential devices turned off, the high-gain antenna disengaged, and communication with Earth using the low-gain antenna, until the problem can be better understood.

See more in the Deep Space 1 section below.

Mars Penetrator Probes Named Amundsen and Scott

NASA's Deep Space 2 microprobes, due to smash into the surface of Mars near the planet's south pole on Dec. 3, have been named Amundsen and Scott in honor of the first explorers to reach the South Pole of Earth.

See more in the Deep Space 2 section below.

New Images from Galileo at Io

On November 4, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory released photographs of the volcano Prometheus on the Jovian moon Io.

See more in the Galileo section below.

Living in Space
MIR 26

MIR CORE LAUNCHED
February 19, 1986

Current Mir Location:
Earth Orbit, ~390km altitude

ABANDONED
28 August 1999

Upcoming Mir Events

Deorbit?: Early 2000


Mir Reference Pages

HoustonChronical.com: Space Central
Russian Space Station Mir

www.chron.com
/content/interactive/space/missions/mir

CNN SCI-TECH NEWS
Mir facts at a glance

cnn.com/TECH/space/9908/27/mir.facts

CNN SCI-TECH NEWS (SOYUZ)
cnn.com/TECH/9707/mir/soyuz

The Soyuz-TM ferry & lifeboat www.hq.nasa.gov/osf/mir/soyuz.html

NASA Office of Space Flight - MIR www.hq.nasa.gov/osf/mir

Liftoff - MIR Station
liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/rsa/mir.html

Keep Mir Alive
www.space-frontier.org/PROJECTS/MIR

MAXIMOV ONLINE: MIR Current Status
www.maximov.com/Mir/mircurrent.asp

MIR 26 CURRENT STATUS

Mir

Mir Abandoned

On August 28, 1999, the Mir space station was abandoned for the second time since it was launched on February 19, 1986. The first time the station was left uncrewed was in September 1989. By far the world's longest-serving space station, Mir orbited the Earth for over 13 years and hosted 135 people.

The Mir crew, Commander Viktor Afanasyev, Sergei Avdeyev and French astronaut Jean-Paul Haignere safely returned to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

"With grief in our soul we're abandoning a piece of Russia, abandoning something we constructed in space, and it's unclear what we'll build next," Afanasyev said just before leaving Mir.

Russian space officials are seeking private investors to fund a new crewed flight. If they are not able to raise funds for another mission, a so-called "funeral team" will visit Mir for about a month to gradually reduce its orbit and completely shut the station down. It would later be deorbited to burn in the Earth's atmosphere and fall into the Pacific Ocean.

Updated: 23 September 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith

 Back UP to the top of SPACE UPDATE
SPACE SHUTTLE
Upcoming Space Shuttle Flights

MISSION--ORBITER--LAUNCH

STS-103 -- Discovery -- 2 DEC 1999
Pad 39-B at 4:32 a.m. EDT

STS-99 -- Endeavour -- 13 JAN 2000

STS-101 -- Atlantis -- 10 FEB 2000
(Launch date Estimated, Under Review)



Space Shuttle Reference Pages

Upcoming Space Shuttle Launches
www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao
/schedule/schedule.htm

NASA Space Shuttle Current Status
www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov
/kscpao/status/stsstat/current.htm

SHUTTLE COUNTDOWN ONLINE
www.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/countdown/

The NASA Shuttle Web
shuttle.nasa.gov

Future Shuttle Missions
www.hq.nasa.gov/osf/shuttle/futsts.html

STS News Reference Manual
www.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle /technology/sts-newsref/stsref-toc.html


Space Shuttle Info Bytes

STS SPECS:
Crew Capacity: 8 (10 could be carried in an emergency)
Max Acceleration Load < 3Gs.
Orbital Altitude: 100 to 217 nautical miles.
Cargo bay dimensions: 15 feet diameter, 60 feet long.
Basic Mission Length: 7 days in space


ORBITERS:

Enterprise (OV-101): used for Approach and Landing Tests, the Enterprise now is property of the Smithsonian Institution and is at Dulles Airport, Virginia.
Columbia (OV-102): the first operational orbiter, STS-1 first launched on 12 April 1981. Columbia has completed 25 flights to date.
Challenger (OV-099): the second orbiter, flew 10 missions between 1983 and 1986 for a combined total of 69 days in space. On January 28, 1986, Challenger and her crew were lost in a launch accident.
Discovery (OV-103): the third orbiter, Discovery has flown 26 missions since its maiden voyage on August 30, 1984.
Atlantis: (OV-104): Atlantis has flown 19 missions since its first launch on October 3, 1985. Atlantis is currently being upgraded and is scheduled to return to KSC on August 24, 1998.
Endeavour: (OV-105): Replacing the Challenger and completing the 4-orbiter space shuttle fleet, Endeavour has flown 13 missions since its first launch on May 5, 1992.

SPACE SHUTTLE CURRENT STATUS

Shuttle Launch to Repair Hubble Delayed Again by More Wiring Problems

Discovery's launch to take a crew to repair the Hubble Space Telescope has been delayed again. Cracks found in the insulation of some wiring on Endeavour led to the discovery of similar problems with Discovery. The repairs needed are fairly simple and can be done while Discovery remains at the launch pad. Launch had been scheduled for December 6. The new launch date is December 9. The Hubble Space Telescope was idled on November 13 by a gyroscope failure. With only two functional gyroscopes, Hubble is unable to point with sufficient precision to conduct scientific research. Discovery's crew will replace all six gyroscopes and conduct other repair and maintenance work on Hubble.

On November 4, the Shuttle Discovery finally completed rollover to the Vehicle Assembly Building after numerous delays due a wide variety of reasons ranging from wiring issues, to meteor shows, a batch of suspect Shuttle tiles, hurricanes and most recently, a faulty sensor. However, the third Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission is not yet free of delays. A broken drill bit lost in the coolant cavity of the Shuttle main engine #3 has caused managers to schedule the engine to be replaced. The work will take place on the launch pad and is expected to take 10 days, much of it in conjunction with other prelaunch work. The half inch long, half-gram drill bit fragment in the engine has long been known, what is not known is why the shuttle management team waited until the eleventh hour to replace the engine. This is especially confusing in light of the many months in which the Orbiter sat awaiting other work. On the bright side, the delays have allowed Hubble replacement equipment to be completed and integrated into the mission. This may allow NASA to drop a follow-up Hubble servicing mission. The mission was originally slated for the spring of 2000, but failures of the Hubble's gyroscopes created the need for an abbreviated mission in 1999.

When the decision was made to service Hubble earlier than originally planned, only three of six gyroscopes were functional. On November 13, astronomical observations were suspended and Hubble was put into a safe mode after a fourth gyroscope failed. With only two gyroscopes remaining in operation, the telescope cannot be pointed and kept stationary with enough precision to maintain normal operations. In safe mode, Hubble is in a controlled drift with its aperture door closed. It is using its sun sensor and star tracker to keep the solar arrays properly oriented.

The shuttle launch is now scheduled for December 9. If all goes as planned, Hubble will have been in safe mode for over three weeks, its longest period of inactivity since launch. A backup set of less accurate gyroscopes called the "retrieval mode gyro assembly" will be used to stabilize Hubble so that it can be grabbed by the shuttle's robotic arm. Even without those gyroscopes, which have never been used, the shuttle crew can retrieve Hubble if it is not drifting too much.

Managers hope to have the launch before December 14, so that Discovery will not be in orbit during the Y2K roll-over period. This will be only the third Shuttle launch of 1999 (NASA; Reuters; Space.com).
- Excerpt from
FRONTIER STATUS 175, November 5, 1999 by Dale M. Gray
with permission

Updated: 22 November 1999 - by Chris Peterson with information from CNN Tech Space: "Hubble Space Telescope put into hibernation after critical system failure"
More wiring problems found on shuttle CNN Tech Space
Space shuttle mission delayed again CNN Tech Space

Frontier Status reports are weekly updates chronicling progress of the emerging space frontier. Frontier Status archives are hosted at www.cortesi.com/frontier


The Next Space Shuttle mission:
STS-103

Mission Objectives:
Service the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven member crew have been scheduled for launch December 6, 1999. The STS-103 mission will be the third Hubble Space Telescope repair and upgrade mission and will include four scheduled spacewalks by two teams of astronauts.

SPACE SHUTTLE MISSION: STS-103
STS-103 (Coundown page)

VEHICLE: Discovery (OV-103)

KSC LAUNCH DATE/TIME:
6 December 1999 (Estimated)

ORBIT:
Altitude: 317nm
Inclination: 28.45

MISSION DURATION:
10 days, hours, minutes. (Estimated)

KSC LANDING DATE/TIME:
16 December 1999 KSC (Estimated)

PAYLOAD: Hubble Servicing Mission 3

STS-103 Crew:

Curtis L. Brown (6), Mission Commander
Scott J. Kelly (1), Pilot
Steven L. Smith (3), Mission Specialist
C. Michael Foale (5), Mission Specialist
John M. Grunsfeld (3), Mission Specialist
Claude Nicollier (4), Mission Specialist (ESA)
Jean-Francois Clervoy (3), Mission Specialist (ESA)

Updated: 9 November 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith

 Back UP to the top of SPACE UPDATE

INTERNATIONAL
SPACE STATION


Space Station Information

FIRST ELEMENT LAUNCHED
Nov 20, 1998

Total Crew Size = 6
Altitude: 190 to 230 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: ~ 51.6 degrees
Total pressurized volume: ~ 46,200 cubic feet

Where is the ISS?
In Orbit
Apogee: 246 miles / Perigee: 233 miles

NASA REALTIME Orbital Tracking

Upcoming
ISS ASSEMBLY SCHEDULE
(June 1999 Planning Reference)

LAUNCH DATE - FLIGHT - VEHICLE

FEBRUARY ? 2000 - 1R - Russian

22 JAN 2000 - 2A.2 - US STS-101

FEB 2000 - 3A - US STS-92

MAR 2000 - 2R - Russian Soyuz
(Expedition 1 Crew)

MAR 2000 - 4A - US STS-97
APR 2000 - 5A - US STS-98
(Destiny Laboratory Module)


ISS Partners:

Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, United Kingdom, United States


International Space Station Reference Pages

NASA International Space Station
spaceflight.nasa.gov/station

Space Station Status Reports
NASA SPACE NEWS
spaceflight.nasa.gov
/spacenews/reports

City in Space
CNN Interactive
cnn.com/SPECIALS/space/station

International Space Station NEXUS
Marshall Space Flight Ceneter
station.msfc.nasa.gov

International Space Station NEXUS News
station.msfc.nasa.gov/Now/News

ISS Assembly Flights Chronology
spaceflight.nasa.gov
/station/assembly/flights/chron.html

NASA ISS Media Library
spaceflight.nasa.gov
/gallery/images/station

Space Station Hardware Integration Office (SSHIO)
www.ksc.nasa.gov/station/sshio/welcome.htm

The International Space Station Research Plan
www.hq.nasa.gov/office/olmsa/ISS

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION STATUS

NOW SHUTTLE PROBLEMS DELAY RUSSIAN SPACE STATION MODULE ZVEZDA LAUNCH TO FEBRUARY 2000

Russian mission managers announced a new delay in the launch of the Zvezda Service Module . The launch, over two years behind schedule, is now slated for February. The cause of the delay was reported as unspecified problems with the American Shuttle schedule. No mention was made of the ban on rocket launches from Baikonur where the module will be launched on a Proton rocket (SpaceViews citing Itar-Tass).

Excerpt from FRONTIER STATUS 175, November 5, 1999 - by Dale M. Gray - with permission

In October the two ISS modules in orbit were moved to a higher orbit in order to get a wider clearance from some orbiting space junk.


Next: The Zvezda Service Module

The Zvezda Service Module will be launched atop a Proton rocket to serve as the early living quarters for the first permanent residents of the ISS and will take over control and propulsion capability for the expanding station from the Zarya module, which was launched last November. About nine days after its launch, the ISS will link up with Zvezda using Zarya's jet thrusters during a series of rendezvous maneuvers.

Updated: 9 November 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith


NASA's chief Daniel Goldin, speaking at the Space Frontier Foundation Conference September 24, announced a new plan for NASA to turn operation of the Space Station over to private enterprise -- perhaps within the next decade.

After a period of five to ten years of operation, NASA would be willing to hand its portion of the station over to private industry. The move would free NASA to concentrate on exploring the solar system. NASA would retain a major presence on the station, but as a tenant. Under NASA's current plan, NASA retains control of the station while leasing up to 30 percent or more of the station to commercial ventures. - Excerpt from FRONTIER STATUS 09/24/99 - by Dale M. Gray
with permission
Frontier Status reports are weekly updates chronicling progress of the emerging space frontier. Frontier Status archives are hosted at www.cortesi.com/frontier


The International Space Station on-orbit assembly began with the successful completion of Space Shuttle Endeavour's mission to connect the first two elements of the station. Mission STS-88, also known as Assembly Flight 2A, completed its mission to connect the U.S. built "Unity" module to the Russian built "Zarya" (Sunrise) Control Module in December, 1998.

Zarya was successfully launched by the Russians on November 20, 1998, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, not far from where Yuri Gagarin became the first human to be launched into space over 37 years ago.

- by Gregory A. Smith

 Back UP to the top of SPACE UPDATE
Robotic Space Exploration
Planetary Probe Updates
SPACECRAFT
STATUS
Galileo
Jupiter orbiter and atmospheric probe

Launch: 18 October 1989

Jupiter Arrival:
7 December 1995

Galileo Jupiter Orbit Tour graphic
Jun 96 - Nov 97

Galileo Europa Mission (GEM)
December 7, 1997-December 31, 1999

8 Europa encounters
December 16, 1997 - Feb 1, 1999

Upcoming Galileo Spacecraft Satellite Encounters:
"Io 25" - 26 November 1999

Perijove reduction/water/Io Torus study
May 5, 1999 - Sept 16, 1999

Io approaches
Oct 11, 1999 and Nov 26, 1999

End of mission: Dec 31, 1999


Galileo Reference Pages

Galileo Home Page
www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo

Galileo News and Events
www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/news.html

Galileo Europa Mission (GEM)
www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/gem

Galileo Europa Mission Fact Sheet
www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/gem/fact.html

Where's Galileo Right Now?
www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/
countdown/mclock.html

Galileo - Countdown
www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/countdown

Full data sets from
Galileo's first fifteen orbits
www.jpl.nasa.gov
/galileo/sepo/fulldata.html

GALILEO EUROPA MISSION STATUS

Prometheus Volcano & Caldera

On November 4, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory released photographs of the volcano Prometheus on the Jovian moon Io. The photographs show volcanic characteristics similar to those found on the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea. The volcano has been active for at least 20 years. The 50 to 100 km high volcanic plume has been observed by Voyager, the Hubble Space Telescope and now by Galileo. The photos reveal that after the lava reaches the surface, it travels for up to 100 km in lava tubes before spreading out on the surface. The volcanic plume appears to be the interaction of the lava with sulfur-dioxide "snow". The photographs are part of a batch of images captured during Galileo's Io encounter on October 10. The transmission and subsequent release of the photograph was delayed until recently due to Galileo's slow speed of data transmission.

On Tuesday, November 2, Galileo fired its thrusters to adjust its course for a second Io flyby on November 25. During the second flyby, the spacecraft will pass over Io's south pole at an altitude of 300 km. The thruster firing will also position the craft for future encounters should the Galileo mission be extended. Funding for the mission runs out on December 31.
- Excerpt from
FRONTIER STATUS 175, 5 November 1999 by Dale M. Gray
with permission
Frontier Status reports are weekly updates chronicling progress of the emerging space frontier. Frontier Status archives are hosted at www.cortesi.com/frontier


There will only be one more flyby of Io , the "Io 25" flyby on November 26, 1999, the last encounter of the Galileo Europa Mission . During the Io 25 flyby, Galileo will pass Io at an altitude of 300 km. This is 64 times closer than Voyager 1 and 3761 times closer than Voyager 2.

See Io's Alien Volcanoes at NASA's Space Science News for an article on Io's volcanoes and what researchers hope to learn from next week's close encounter.

You might also want to check out the article "Sulfuric Acid Found on Europa" which discusses the implications that this discovery makes regarding the possibilities of life's biochemistry on Europa. NASA Space Science News can be found at science.nasa.gov .

Update: 9 November 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith

Mars Global Surveyor
Mars orbiter

Launch:
7 November 1996

Mars Arrival:
12 September 1997

Aerobraking and Science Phases

Start of Mapping Mission:
8 March 1999


Mars Global Surveyor Reference Pages

Mars Global Surveyor Home Page
mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs

MGS Current Mission Status Reports
mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/status/status.html

MGS Current Orbit Display
marsnt3.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/realtime/orbit.html

JPL Mars Missions News & Information
www.jpl.nasa.gov/marsnews

JPL Mars Missions Mirror Sites
marsweb.jpl.nasa.gov

Mars Global Surveyor (NSSDC)
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/marsurv.html

Mars Exploration Program
mars.jpl.nasa.gov

MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR STATUS

moc2_msss_arsia_i1.jpg
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-179, 27 September 1999

Arsia Mons
Wide Angle View of Arsia Mons Volcano

    Spacecraft Health:

    "All subsystems continue to report nominal status."
    - MGS Mission Status Report, 23 September 1999

Updated: 27 September 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith


Mars Global Surveyor Science Instruments
(NSSDC Master Catalog)

Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous
(NEAR)

Launch:
17 February 1996

Asteroid 253 Mathilde Encounter:
June 27, 1997

Earth Swing-by (images)
January 23, 1998

Asteroid 433 Eros Rendevous:

May 2000

(Prior to the aborted rendevous burn on December 20, 1997, rendevous would have been 10 January 1999.)


Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous
Reference Pages

NEAR Home Page
near.jhuapl.edu

Weekly Status Reports
near.jhuapl.edu/status/index.html

Near Mission Timeline
near.jhuapl.edu/mission/timeline.html

Asteroid 433 Eros Summary
near.jhuapl.edu/eros/sum.html

NEAR EARTH ASTEROID RENDEZVOUS STATUS

NEAR is presently 328,317.4 Km from Eros (204,006.6 miles).
Y2K related testing continued with the brassboard this week.
- Excerpts from the
NEAR WEEKLY REPORT - September 24, 1999

Updated: 27 September 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith


The 10 January 1999 Rendevous was missed due to aborted burn! Next Rendevous Attempt:
MAY 2000

The first rendezvous burn of the NEAR spacecraft's bipropellant engine, scheduled for December 20th, 1998 was not completed as planned due to a sudden communication failure. Signal recovery was too late to continue with the rendevous burn and the rendevous with Eros, set for 10 January 1999, was lost. The NEAR spacecraft passed within 4,542 miles of Eros on December 23, 1999. Near will pass Eros again in May 2000 and the mission team will attempt another rendevous then.


NEAR's study of Eros will be the first in-depth examination of a near-Earth asteroid and is expected to yield information that will help scientists better understand the evolution of our solar system. NEAR is the first mission of NASA's "Discovery" series.

Educators! Find out more about near on

"The Educator's guide to NEAR"
at
http://near.jhuapl.edu/NEAR/Education/

Updated: 29 September 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith

Lunar Prospector
Lunar orbiter

Launch: 6 January 1998

Lunar Arrival: 9 January 1998

End of Mission:
July 31, 1999


End of Mission

The Lunar Prospector mission ended July 31, 1999, with the spacecraft targeted to impact in a permanently shadowed crater near the south pole, at -87.7 deg latitude, 42 deg longitude.

It was hoped that the spacecraft would impact into the water ice deposits which may exist in the crater and that ground- and space-based telescopes would be able to identify water or OH liberated during the impact. No successful detection has been reported.

SPACE UPDATE will continue to provide links and updates regarding the ongoing scientific analysis of data garnered from the Lunar Prospector mission for one year from the end of mission.


Lunar Prospector Reference Pages

Lunar Prospector Home Page
lunarprospector.arc.nasa.gov

Lunar Prospector Science Results
lunarprospector.arc.nasa.gov/science/results

Lunar Prospector (NSSDC)
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunarprosp.html

Lunar Prospector Data Visualization
lunarprospector.arc.nasa.gov/dataviz/

LUNAR PROSPECTOR



NO EVIDENCE OF WATER REVEALED BY LUNAR PROSPECTOR CRASH

Lunar Prospector's final experiment has failed to prove the existence of water ice at the Moon's south pole. A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin proposed that LP be crashed into a permanently shadowed crater that the spacecraft had shown to contain large amounts of hydrogen. The proposal was accepted, and the team then led efforts to detect the presence of hydroxyl (OH) molecules, which would be quickly formed from any water vapor liberated by the crash.

At the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Padua, Italy, the team announced that analysis of ultraviolet spectra taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, MacDonald telescope in Texas, and the Keck I telescope in Hawaii has been completed, and no hydroxyl emission lines have been found. There are several possible reasons why water was not detected during this experiment. Water may not be present in the crater (the hydrogen may be just hydrogen, not water) or, if present, may be in the form of hydrated minerals that would not release the water during an impact. Even if water ice is present in the crater, the spacecraft may not have impacted into an area rich in ice. And even if LP did strike ice, the water vapor may not have reached a position where it could be seen by the telescopes.

It will be possible to repeat the experiment in the future if other lunar orbiting spacecraft conclude their missions with enough fuel left to allow them to be crashed into a permanently shadowed crater with elevated hydrogen levels.

Source: NEW RESEARCH ON LUNAR PROSPECTOR'S MOON CRASH DOES NOT REVEAL EVIDENCE OF WATER
UT ENGINEERING NEWS

Updated: 13 October 1999 - by Chris Peterson


On March 5th, 1998 Lunar Prospector project scientist announced that the Lunar Prospector had returned data that indicates that there is a high probability of water ice existing at both the north and south poles of the Moon. The presence of a significant amount of water on the Moon could be important in the establishment of human communities beyond Earth.

See the CNN SCI-TECH article on Lunar Prospector's ice discovery at: CNN SCI-TECH Space - 05 March 1998 - Scientist: There is ice on the moon

For more information about ice on the Moon, check out the article "Ice on the Bone Dry Moon" by Dr. Paul D. Spudis in "Planetary Science Research Discoveries"

Also, check out the way cool Lunar Prospector "Data Viz" data visualization page.

Cassini/Huygens
Saturn orbiter / Titan lander

Launch: 15 October 1997

Gravity Assist
Planetary Swingbys

Venus: 21 April 1998
Venus: 20 June 1999
Earth: 16 August 1999
Jupiter: 30 December 2000

Saturn Arrival: 1 July 2004

Huygens Probe Titan Arrival:
November 27, 2004


Cassini/Huygens Reference Pages

Cassini Mission Home Page (JPL)
www.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini

Cassini Weekly Significant Events
www.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini/MoreInfo/sigevents

Cassini Press Releases/Status Reports www.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini/MoreInfo/press.html

Cassini (NSSDC)
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/cassini.html

Cassini - VVEJGA Trajectory www.jpl.nasa.gov
/cassini/Mission/pix/trajectory_lg.gif

Huygens Probe (NSSDC)
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/huygens.html

Huygens Probe (ESA)
sci.esa.int/huygens/

CASSINI/HUYGENS STATUS


"The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and is operating normally."

10/1/99: Cassini Weekly Significant Events (JPL)


The Cassini spacecraft will arrive on orbit around Saturn in 2004. Cassini will study the great ringed planet, its moons and ring system for at least four years. It will also deliver a scientific probe called Huygens which will parachute to the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Updated: 4 October 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith

Nozomi (Hope) (Planet-B)
Japanese Mars aeronomy orbiter

Launch: 3 July 1998

Mars Arrival: 11 October 1999


Nozomi (Planet-B) Reference Pages

Planet-B Home Page (ISAS/Japan)
www.planet-b.isas.ac.jp/index-e.html

Planet-B Orbit
www.planet-b.isas.ac.jp/index-e.html

Planet-B (NSSDC)
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov
/cgi-bin/database/www-nmc?98-041A

Nozomi Mars Imaging Camera
komadori.planet.kobe-u.ac.jp
/~inada/MIC_e.html

Nozomi's Earth & Moon Image komadori.planet.kobe-u.ac.jp
/~inada/MIC/0718_e.html

Nozomi Instrument List
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov
/cgi-bin/database/www-nmc?98-041A-__

NOZOMI (HOPE) (PLANET-B) STATUS


Earth and Moon, by Nozomi

On July 18, 1998, the Nozomi spacecraft took its first picture, a beautiful image of the Earth and Moon.

The Japanese "Nozomi" Mars probe was successfully launched on July 3, 1998 from the Kagoshima space center in Japan. Unfortunately, the spacecraft used more propellant than planned in a course correction maneuver on 21 December 1998 after a 20 December Earth flyby left the craft with "insufficient acceleration". The good news is: Nozomi will reach Mars. The bad news: the arrival of Nozomi at Mars has been delayed four years from its originally scheduled rendezvous in 1999. The spacecraft will continue in a heliocentric orbit until it encounters Mars in December of 2003.

Nozomi is the first Japanese space mission to Mars. It is also the first non-U.S. or Russian space flight to another body in the solar system.


A Mars orbiting aeronomy mission, Nozomi is designed to study the martian upper atmosphere and its interaction with the solar wind. Instruments on the spacecraft will measure the structure, composition and dynamics of the ionosphere, aeronomy effects of the solar wind, the escape of atmospheric constituents, the structure of the magnetosphere, and dust in the upper atmosphere and in orbit around Mars. The mission will also be returning images of Mars' surface and the martian moons Phobos and Deimos.

The nominal mission is planned for one Martian year (approximately two Earth years). An extended mission may allow operation of the mission well beyond the original two years.

Updated: 1 October 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith

Deep Space 1
Asteroid, Comet flyby

Launch Date:
October 24, 1998

Fly-by Target:
Near Earth Asteroid 9969 Braille

Fly-by Date:
July 28, 1999

Demonstration Mission End:
October 1999

Possible Extented Mission Targets:
Comet Wilson-Harrington
Comet Borrelly


Deep Space 1 Reference Pages

Deep Space 1 Home Page
nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1

Deep Space 1 Status Reports
www.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1news

Deep Space 1 Quick Facts
nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1/quick_facts.html

New Millenium Program
nmp.jpl.nasa.gov

DEEP SPACE 1 STATUS

STAR TRACKER PROBLEMS PUT DEEP SPACE 1 IN SAFE MODE

Deep Space 1's star tracker instrument, which has experienced problems for more than a year, has once again caused the spacecraft to put itself in a safe standby mode. There have been a number of instances in the past when the star tracker has been briefly unable to determine the spacecraft's precise orientation. Previously, normal operation has always resumed in a matter of seconds or minutes, but the current malfunction, which began on November 11th, has not yet been rectified. The spacecraft will remain in safe mode, with non-essential devices turned off, the high-gain antenna disengaged, and communication with Earth using the low-gain antenna, until the problem can be better understood.

Deep Space 1 completed its primary mission in September and has been in a relatively inactive cruise phase pending its comet encounters in 2001. During the cruise phase DS1 has been obtaining images of well-known objects such as Mars and Jupiter with its combined visible camera and imaging spectrometer instrument in order to allow better calibration of the instrument.

Another instrument experiencing some difficulties is the Plasma Experiment for Planetary Exploration. Degradation of the instrument may prevent it from measuring the composition of some of the complex ions it may encounter at the comets, but it will still be able to measure the energy and direction of ions and electrons such as those found in the solar wind and in the expanding cloud of gas and dust which surrounds a comet when it is near the Sun.

Deep Space 1 is now 241 million kilometers (=150 million miles =13.5 light minutes) from Earth. Source: Deep Space 1 Mission Status November 17, 1999

Updated: 18 November 1999 - by Chris Peterson


NASA's Deep Space 1 experimental spacecraft successfully flew closely above the surface of asteroid 9969 Braille at 9:46 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday, July 28 (04:46 Universal Time July 29), using a sophisticated new space autopilot system, exceeding 100 percent of the mission's objectives.

Deep Space 1 flew within an estimated 26 kilometers (16 miles) of asteroid 9969 Braille. Data from the spacecraft's infrared sensor indicate that the small asteroid may be similar to Vesta, one of the largest in the main asteroid belt.

"This is a dramatic finale to an amazingly successful mission," said Dr. Marc Rayman, chief mission engineer and deputy mission manager. "With AutoNav's successful piloting of the spacecraft, we've completed the testing and validation of the 12 new technologies onboard and possibly acquired important science data, including photos."

    - July 29, 1999
    NASA MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
    JET PROPULSION LABORATORY

Deep Space One is the first deep space mission of NASA's New Millennium Program. The New Millennium Program (NMP) is an agressive technology demonstration established to validate advanced technologies while returning science data.

Updated: 19 November 1999 - by Chris Peterson

Mars Climate Orbiter

Launch: December 11, 1998

Mars Arrival:
September 23, 1999

Accidental Loss of Spacecraft:
September 23, 1999

Key Dates

23 Sep 1999-Mars Orbit Insertion
23 Sep 1999-Mars Aerobraking Begins
22 Nov 1999-Mars Aerobraking Ends
01 Dec 1999-Move to Mapping Orbit

02-03 Dec 1999
Mars Polar Lander Relay Support

03 Mar 2000 - Mars Mapping Begins
15 Jan 2002 - Mars Relay Mission
01 Dec 2004 - End of Mission


Mars Climate Orbiter
Reference Pages

Mars Surveyor `98 Mission
mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/msp2.html

Mars Surveyor `98 Status Reports
mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/news/status.html

Mars Climate Orbiter Configuration
mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/orbiter.html

Mars Climate Orbiter Home Page
www.marsclimateorbiter.com

Mars Climate Orbiter (NSSDC)
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov
/cgi-bin/database/www-nmc?MARS98S

JPL Mars Missions News & Information
www.jpl.nasa.gov/marsnews

MARS CLIMATE ORBITER


MCO Failure Board Releases Report, Confirms Units Mismatch Caused MCO Loss


On November 10, the Mars Climate Orbiter Mission Failure Investigation Board released the initial results of its investigation into the causes of the September 23 loss of the MCO spacecraft. The Board confirmed that the root cause of the loss was the failure to convert English units of rocket thrust (pounds) into metric units (Newtons) in a segment of navigation-related software. This resulted in MCO coming too close to Mars, where the spacecraft was probably torn apart in Mars's atmosphere.

The Board has been studying why the error was not detected before MCO was lost. Among the contributing factors identified by the Board were inadequate training and communications between different teams that worked on the mission. MCO was the first Mars mission that handed over operations from the group that built the spacecraft to a new multimission operations team. The navigation team was overworked, they were not sufficiently briefed on the differences between the ways that Mars Global Surveyor and MCO were pointed in space, and their work was not peer reviewed by independent experts.

The Board will continue its investigation and present another report by February 1, 2000.

Sources: MARS CLIMATE ORBITER FAILURE BOARD RELEASES REPORT, NUMEROUS NASA ACTIONS UNDERWAY IN RESPONSE (JPL)

NASA: Human error caused loss of Mars orbiter (CNN.com Tech-Space)


The Mars Climate Orbiter was essentially a Mars weather satellite. Its main mission was to analyze the atmospheric composition and weather. The atmospheric sounding and imaging phase was scheduled to last for one Mars year (687 Earth days).

The spacecraft was also to act as a data link to relay information from its companion spacecraft (the Mars Polar Lander) back to Earth. JPL reports, however, that most if not all of the science from the Mars Polar Lander will be acquired by direct links to Earth and through the currently orbiting and operational Mars Global Surveyor.

In its role as a data relay the Mars Climate Orbiter was to have been operational for at least 5 years in order to support the '01 Mars mission, which is to arrive at Mars in January 2002, and other future missions.

Updated: 19 November 1999 - by Chris Peterson

Mars Polar Lander

Launch: 3 January 1999

Mars Landing: 3 December 1999

End of Primary Mission:
29 February 2000


Mars Polar Lander Reference Pages

Mars Polar Lander
mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/lander

MPL Mission Status and Timetable
www.marspolarlander.com/status

Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor
www.marspolarlander.com

Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor UCLA
mvacs.ess.ucla.edu

Exploring Mars: Mars Polar Lander www.exploringmars.org/missions/mpl

Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor
mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/lander/mvacs.html

NASA JPL Mars Exploration Program
mars.jpl.nasa.gov

Mars Polar Lander (NSSDC)
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov
/cgi-bin/database/www-nmc?99-001A

MARS POLAR LANDER STATUS

Mars Polar Lander - Landing Day

No signal has been acquired from the Mars Polar Lander as of yet, however, it is possible that contact with the lander may be established during upcoming communications attempts.

Check the MPL Mission Status and Timetable
www.marspolarlander.com/status

and watch the images and data downlink
"Live" at MVACS Mission Control.


The Mars Polar Lander was successfully launched on a Delta II launch vehicle from Launch Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida on January 3, 1999.

Mars Polar Lander's interplanetary cruise to Mars will take 11 months. In December, 1999, the lander will enter the Martian atmosphere directly from the hyperbolic transfer orbit at 7 km/s. The Mars Polar Lander must decellerate from 7 km/sec to 2.4 meters/sec for a safe Martian touchdown. This will be accomplished by aerobraking with an ablative heatshield, a parachute deployment and a final rocket propulsion firing for a soft landing.

The target landing zone is close to Mars' south pole at 73 to 76 degrees south latitude. This high latitude region has "layered terrain" which should have water ice near the surface and might show evidence of past climatic variations.

The science payload on the Mars Polar Lander includes:

Deep Space 2 New Millennium Microprobes (see Deep Space 2)
Mars Descent Imager (MARDI)
Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)
Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor (MVACS)
Stereo Surface Imager (SSI)
Robotic Arm & Camera
Meteorological Package (MET)
Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA)
Mars Microphone

The lander's primary mission is 90 days.

Updated: 3 December 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith

Deep Space 2
Mars Microprobe Impactors

Amundsen & Scott

Launch: January 3, 1999

Mars Landing:
December 3, 1999


Deep Space 2 Reference Pages

Deep Space 2 Home Page
nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds2

Deep Space 2 (NSSDC)
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov
/cgi-bin/database/www-nmc?DEEPSP2

NASA New Millennium Program
nmp.jpl.nasa.gov

DEEP SPACE 2 STATUS

MARS PENETRATOR PROBES NAMED FOR PIONEERING POLAR EXPLORERS
Amundsen and Scott

NASA's Deep Space 2 microprobes, due to smash into the surface of Mars near the planet's south pole on Dec. 3, have been named Amundsen and Scott in honor of the first explorers to reach the South Pole of Earth. - NASA HQ RELEASE: 99-135, November 15, 1999

Piggybacked on the Mars Polar Lander spacecraft are two "Deep Space 2" (DS2) microprobes.

About the size of basketballs, the microprobes will separate from the Mars Polar Lander after 11 months in transit to Mars. The DS2 probes are designed for a "passive" atmospheric entry using only their heat shields. There are no parachutes or rockets to slow the probes prior to impacting the surface of Mars. The spacecraft are designed to survive an 80,000 G impact, penetrate the surface up to 3 feet, and gather subsurface data.

The DS2 probe mission's scientific objectives are to: 1) test for the presence of water ice below the surface and, if ice exists, attempt to resolve the mineral phases in which the ice is stored; 2) determine the thermal and physical properties and temperature gradient of the subsurface material; 3) measure the atmospheric pressure and temperature. The Deep Space 2 probes are designed to operate and transmit data until the batteries are depleted, which is expected to occur 1 to 3 days after impact.

Scientist hope these probes will help discover clues to Mars' past climate, including the apparent mystery of the "disappeared" surface water. Does the water that may have caused the erosional features we can see today now exist as permafrost? If so, what implications would that have for possible life forms? Information on soil temperature, ices, air pressure, and solar measurements will be relayed to earth via the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Spacecraft, which has been orbiting the Red Planet since September 1997.

The target area is located within the northern boundary of the martian polar layered terrain, near 76 degrees south latitude, 195 degrees west longitude. The landing area for both probes should be about 50 to 100 km from the Mars Polar Lander touchdown site. This area is considered to be an important reservoir of water, carbon dioxide and other volatiles on Mars.

Updated: 16 November 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith

Stardust
Comet Wild-2 sample return

Launch: February 7, 1999

Comet Wild-2 Rendezvous:
January, 2004

Earth Return: January, 2006


Stardust Reference Pages

Stardust Home Page
stardust.jpl.nasa.gov

Stardust (NSSDC)
nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov
/cgi-bin/database/www-nmc?99-003A

STARDUST STATUS

"The STARDUST spacecraft continues to operate normally in cruise sequence SC009, cruising in the main asteroid belt about 2 AU from both the Earth and Sun."

- STARDUST Status Report - September 24, 1999


The primary goal of the Stardust mission is to collect dust and volatile samples of comet Wild 2, and samples of interstellar dust grains, and return the samples to Earth for analysis. The spacecraft will also send back images of the comet, counts of comet particles striking the spacecraft and conduct real-time analysis of the compositions of the particles and volatiles.

Stardust will use a unique substance called aerogel to capture and preserve the cometary and interstellar materials for return to Earth.

Stardust will be the first space mission ever to return extraterrestrial material from beyond the orbit of the Moon. Stardust is also the first U.S. mission dedicated solely to cometary research.

Updated: 27 September 1999 - by Gregory A. Smith

 Back UP to the top of SPACE UPDATE


For information regarding upcoming robotic missions, see:
Space Update - Planned Planetary Missions


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SPACEUPDATE is a tradename of The Apollo Society. (C)1997, 1998 The Apollo Society. All rights reserved.
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