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Sonntag, 10. November 2013 - 16:25 Uhr

Astronomie - Astronomen gelingt seltener Schnappschuss einer Planetenbaustelle

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Planeten entstehen in Scheiben aus Gas und Staub rund um junge Sterne. Nun ist mit dem Verbundteleskop ALMA und dem Weltraumobservatorium Herschel eine seltene Aufnahme einer Planetenbaustelle in einem unerwarteten Zwischenstadium gelungen: Entgegen den Erwartungen enthält die Scheibe um den Stern HD 21997 sowohl ursprüngliches Gas aus der Zeit der Sternentstehung als auch Staub, der durch die Kollision von Planetesimalen entstanden ist – den urtümlichen kosmischen Gesteinsbrocken, aus denen die sehr viel größeren Planeten entstehen. Dies ist die erste Beobachtung einer solchen »hybriden Scheibe« und dürfte eine Nachbesserung der gängigen Modelle der Planetenentstehung erfordern.

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Abbildung 1: ALMA-Bilder der Scheibe um HD 21997. Das linke Bild zeigt die Strahlung, die von kalten Staubkörnern ausgesandt wird, die einen Ring rund um den Stern bilden. Das mittlere Bild zeigt die Strahlung, die von Kohlenstoffmonoxid ausgesandt wird. Offenbar ist das Gas auch deutlich dichter am Stern zu finden als der Staub. Das untere Bild zeigt die Geschwindigkeitsverteilung des Gases. Die rötlichen Anteile zeigen Scheibenregionen, die sich von uns entfernten; die bläulich eingefärbten kommen auf uns zu. Die Verteilung zeigt an, dass das Gas um den Stern in seiner Mitte kreist.

Bild: Á. Kóspál (ESA) und A. Moór (Konkoly-Sternwarte)

Bei ihrer Geburt sind Sterne wie unsere Sonne von Scheiben aus Staub und Gas umgeben. In diesen Scheiben bildet sich das Planetensystems des Sterns: Der Staub verklumpt weiter und weiter, und am Ende sind kilometergroße massive Brocken entstanden, die Planetesimale genannt werden. Diese Brocken bilden später die Asteroiden und Kometen des Systems, oder sie verklumpen weiter und bilden Felsplaneten unsere Erde oder die Kerne für große Gasplaneten.

Die gängigen Modelle der Planetenentstehung sagen voraus, dass das ursprünglich vorhandene Gas der Scheibe in der Planetesimalen-Phase rasch aufgebraucht wird. Einiges davon fällt in den Stern zurück, ein weiterer Teil sammelt sich in dem, was später die Gasplaneten (wie unser Jupiter) werden, und der Rest wird durch die intensive Strahlung des jungen Sterns ins All hinausgetrieben. Nach rund 10 Millionen Jahre, so die bisherige Überzeugung, sollte das ursprüngliche Gas verschwunden sein.

Jetzt hat ein Astronomenteam aus den Niederlanden, Ungarn, Deutschland und den USA, zu dem auch Thomas Henning vom Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie gehört, allerdings eine seltene hybride Scheibe gefunden, die zum einen große Mengen an urtümlichem Gas, zum anderen aber bereits Staub enthält, der bei der Kollision solcher Planetesimale entstanden ist. Es handelt sich um eine Art Bindeglied zwischen den frühen und späteren Phasen der Scheibenevolution – der ursprünglichen Scheibe und der späteren Phase der Planetesimalen-Trümmer.

Die Astronomen nutzten sowohl das Weltraumobservatorium Herschel der ESA als auch das Verbundteleskop ALMA in Chile, um die Scheibe rund um den Stern HD 21997 zu untersuchen. Dieser Stern liegt von uns aus gesehen im südlichen Sternbild Chemischer Ofen (Fornax), 235 Lichtjahre von uns entfernt. Er hat das 1,8fache der Sonnenmasse und ist rund 30 Millionen Jahre alt.

Die Herschel- und ALMA-Beobachtungen zeigen einen ausgedehnten Staubring, der den Stern in Entfernungen zwischen 55 und 150 Astronomischen Einheiten (AE, entspricht der durchschnittlichen Entfernung der Erde von der Sonne) umgibt. Die ALMA-Beobachtungen zeigen außerdem einen Gasring – doch überraschenderweise sind die beiden nicht deckungsgleich! Die Leiterin der Studie, Ágnes Kóspál von der ESA, erklärt: »Der innere Rand des Gasrings liegt näher am Zentralstern als der des Staubrings. Wären Gas und Staub durch den gleichen physikalischen Prozess erzeugt worden, nämlich durch die Erosion von Planetesimalen, dann sollte man erwarten, dass beide Ringe deckungsgleich sind. Das ist bei der inneren Scheibe aber eindeutig nicht der Fall.«

Attila Moór von der Konkoly-Sternwarte fügt hinzu: »Unsere Beobachtungen zeigen außerdem, dass frühere Studien die Gasmenge in der Scheibe grob unterschätzt hatten. Aus der Menge an Kohlenstoffmonoxid in der Scheibe können wir nun aber schließen, dass die Gesamtmasse des Gases zwischen 30 und 60 Erdmassen liegen dürfte.« Dieser Wert ist ein weiterer Fingerzeig, dass die Gasscheibe aus demselben urtümlichen Material besteht, aus dem auch der Stern entstanden ist – Gasfreisetzung bei der Kollision von Planetesimalen könnte diese gewaltige Menge unmöglich erklären.

Thomas Henning vom Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie sagt: »Dass wir um den 30 Millionen Jahre alten Stern HD 21997 urtümliches Gas finden, gibt uns ein Rätsel auf. Sowohl Modellrechnungen als auch frühere Beobachtungen zeigen, dass das Gas in dieser Art von Scheibe rund um einen jungen Stern bereits nach rund 10 Millionen Jahren verschwunden sein sollte.«

Die Astronomen bemühen sich derzeit, weitere Systeme wie HD 21997 für weitergehende Untersuchungen an hybriden Scheiben zu finden, und zu klären, wie sie sich in die gängigen Modelle der Planetenentstehung einfügen – oder wie diese Modelle verändert werden müssen.

Quelle: Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie Heidelberg

 
 
 

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Sonntag, 10. November 2013 - 12:30 Uhr

Planet Erde - ISS-Aufnahme von Köln, Bonn, Aachen und Düren mit einem NightPod-Stativ

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Folgt man dem Lauf des Rheins, sind die Städte Bonn und Köln auf der rechten Seite dieses von der Internationalen Raumstation aufgenommenen Nachtbildes zu erkennen. Das weiter nördlich gelegene Köln beheimatet auch das Europäischen Raumfahrtzentrum, das sich auf dem Gelände des Deutschen Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt befindet. Die hellen Lichter auf der rechten Seite beleuchten die Flugbahn des Flughafens Köln-Bonn, welcher hier zwischen den beiden Städten zu erkennen ist.

Links oben auf dem Bild liegt Aachen an der Grenze zu den Niederlanden und Belgien. Zwischen Aachen und Köln erkennt der Betrachter die Stadt Düren, in der sichtlich eine andersfarbige Straßenbeleuchtung als in den benachbarten Orten verwendet wird.

Dieses Bild ist im Jahre 2012 von einem Astronauten von der Internationalen Raumstation mithilfe eines NightPods aufgenommen worden. Das NightPod-Kamerastativ folgt der Erde, die mit einer relativen Geschwindigkeit von 28800 km/h unter der Station vorbeirauscht, indem ein beliebiges Ziel in der Mitte des Suchers fixiert wird. Gewöhnliche Kameras, die an einem solchen Nightpod angebracht sind, können sich längere Belichtungszeiten zunutze machen, sodass Astronauten schärfere Nachtaufnahmen von Städten aufnehmen können.

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Neuartiges Stativ ermöglicht Astronauten atemberaubende Nachtaufnahmen von europäischen Metropolen.

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Quelle: ESA


Tags: ISS- NightPod-Stativ-Aufnahmen 

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Sonntag, 10. November 2013 - 11:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Russian Spacewalk-36 mit Olympia-Fackel

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Frams: NASA-TV LIVE

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Blick von ISS auf Taifun

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Premiere: Olympia Fackel im All

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Quelle: NASA

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Update: 10.11.2013

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Olympic Torch Highlights Station Spacewalk

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Two Russian cosmonauts clad in Orlan spacesuits conducted an out-of-this-world hand-off of the Olympic torch at the start of Saturday’s 5-hour, 50-minute spacewalk to perform maintenance on the International Space Station.

Expedition 37 Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy opened the hatch to the Pirs docking compartment at 9:34 a.m. EST and floated outside to begin a photo opportunity with the unlit torch.

An icon of international cooperation through sports competition, the Olympic torch arrived at the space station Thursday aboard a Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new crew members – Expedition 38 Flight Engineers Mikhail Tyurin, Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata. On Sunday, the torch will return to Earth aboard another Soyuz spacecraft vehicle along with Expedition 37 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano.

The spacewalk was a high-flying extension of a relay that will culminate with the torch being used to light the Olympic flame at the Feb. 7 opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

After Kotov and Ryazanskiy completed their photo and video session with the torch outside the station, they stowed it back inside the airlock and proceeded with the remainder of their chores 260 miles above the Earth.

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The view from cosmonaut Oleg Kotov's helmet camera shows fellow spacewalker Sergey Ryazanskiy as the two work with an EVA workstation and biaxial pointing platform.
Image Credit: 
NASA TV

The two spacewalkers translated out to the hull of the Zvezda service module to continue the set up of a combination extravehicular activity workstation and biaxial pointing platform that was installed during an Expedition 36 spacewalk on Aug. 22.

After installing some handrails on the workstation, Kotov and Ryazanskiy loosened a trio of bolts and removed a launch bracket from the pointing platform. A high resolution camera system will be installed on the platform during a spacewalk targeted for December.

The installation of a foot restraint on the mounting seat of the workstation was deferred to a future spacewalk after the spacewalkers noticed some issues with its alignment.

For their final planned task, Kotov and Ryazanskiy deactivated the Radiometria experiment package on Zvezda. Designed to collect information useful in seismic forecasts and earthquake predictions, Radiometria was installed on the station during an Expedition 26 spacewalk in February 2011. After securing the experiment's cables, the spacewalkers headed back to the airlock to wrap up the excursion.  The task to fold down and restrain Radiometria's antenna was deferred to a future spacewalk.

The duo closed the Pirs hatch at 3:24 p.m., marking the official end of the spacewalk.

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This graphic shows the locations of the nine International Space Station crew members during Saturday's spacewalk.
Image Credit: 
NASA TV

During the spacewalk, Yurchikhin, Parmitano and Nyberg were isolated to their Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft and Zvezda, while Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins was restricted to the Poisk module and his Soyuz TMA-10M craft. The remaining three crew members -- Mastracchio, Wakata and Tyurin – had access to much of the remaining area of the station, including the Zarya module, their Soyuz TMA-11M vehicle and the Rassvet module to which it is docked, as well as the entirety of the U.S. segment of the station.

Saturday’s spacewalk was the 174th in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the fourth in Kotov's career and the first for Ryazanskiy. Kotov, who was designated EV1 for the spacewalk wore the suit with red stripes. Ryazanskiy, EV2, wore the suit marked with blue stripes.

This was the eighth spacewalk conducted at the station this year. In December, Tyurin will accompany Kotov on his fifth spacewalk.

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Quelle: NASA


Tags: EVA-36 Russian Spacewalk 

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Samstag, 9. November 2013 - 16:50 Uhr

Planet Erde - NASA-Satellit TRMM sieht Super Taifun Haiyan über Philippinen

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Nov. 04, 2013 - NASA Sees Strengthening Tropical Storm Haiyan Lashing Micronesia

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NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Haiyan on Nov. 4 and infrared data showed a large area of powerful thunderstorms affecting Micronesia. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center has forecast newborn Tropical Storm Haiyan to strengthen to a powerful typhoon before making landfall in the Philippines on Nov 8.
In its orbit around the Earth, NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Haiyan on Nov. 4 at 0347 UTC/10:47 p.m. EDT on Nov. 3. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument captured infrared data that measured cloud top temperatures in the strengthening tropical storm. AIRS data showed a large area of strong convection with high, cold cloud tops. Temperatures exceeded -63F/-52C over a large area. Satellite data shows that the convection, the rising air that forms the thunderstorms that make up the tropical cyclone, have deepened, or strengthened over the previous 24 hours.
Microwave imagery from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite shows improved banding of thunderstorms wrapping around the tropical storm today, Nov. 5.
Haiyan is lashing the islands of Micronesia and warnings and watches are in effect today, Nov. 5.
Micronesia consists of a group of islands in the western Pacific Ocean that include the Marshall Islands, the Gilbert Islands including Kiribati, the Caroline Islands, Nauru, Wake Island and the Mariana Islands. The area contains thousands of small islands and is part of the larger Oceana.
A Typhoon Warning is in effect for Woleai in Yap State. A Typhoon Watch is in effect for Koror and Kayangel, Republic of Palau; for Satawal in Yap State; and for Faraulep, Fais, Ulithi, Yap Island and Ngulu in Yap State. A Tropical Storm Warning has been posted for Puluwat in Chuuk State as well as for Satawal in Yap State, and a tropical storm Watch is up for Ulul and Fananu in Chuuk State.
On Nov. 5 at 1500 UTC/10 a.m. EDT Haiyan's maximum sustained winds were near 45 knots/51.7 mph/83.3 kph and it is moving through an area of warm waters and low wind shear which is expected to help the storm strengthen. Haiyan was centered near 6.2 north and 147.6 east about 640 nautical miles east-southeast of Yap. Haiyan is moving to the west at 19 knots/21.8 mph/35.9 kph.
Haiyan is moving west-northwest through Micronesia. It is expected to pass between Yap and Palau on Nov. 6 before making landfall in the central Philippines. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center expects Haiyan to intensify to 120 knots/138.1 mph/222.2 kph as it approaches the central Philippines on Nov. 8. That strength is equal to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  
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NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Haiyan on Nov. 4 at 0347 UTC/10:47 p.m. EDT on Nov. 3 as it was lashing the islands that make up Micronesia in the western North Pacific Ocean.
Image Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
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Nov. 5, 2013 - NASA Investigates Typhoon Haiyan's Intense Rainfall
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As Typhoon Haiyan has been strengthening, NASA's TRMM satellite investigated how much rain was falling throughout the storm. Typhoon Haiyan is now closing in on Yap and Palau with a forecast to move through the central Philippines, so all of those areas are under warnings and watches.
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite known as TRMM passed over Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 4 at 1042 UTC/5:42 a.m. EDT. TRMM's Precipitation Radar instrument provided data on rainfall in the storm's northeastern quadrant. Rainfall near the center appeared to be falling at a rate of between 50 and 60 mm/1.9 and 2.3 inches per hour. Rainfall outside the center was falling between 10 and 30 mm/0.39 and 1.18 inches per hour.  TRMM also saw that some of the thunderstorms were reaching heights over 10 km/6.2 miles high.
On Nov. 5 at 1500 UTC, Haiyan's maximum sustained winds increased to 90 knots/103.6 mph/166.7 kph, and are forecast to increase more over the next several days. Haiyan is centered near 6.9 north and 142.3 east, about 333 nautical miles/ 383.2 miles/616 km east-southeast of Yap. The typhoon is moving to the west-northwest at 15 knots/ 17.2 mph/27.7 kph.
A Typhoon Warning is in effect for Kayangel in the Republic of Palau and Ngulu in Yap State, and a Typhoon Watch is in effect for Fais, Ulithi, in Yap State. In addition, a Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for Yap Island in Yap State and Koror in Palau.
Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center or JTWC who provide the bulletins and forecasts on the storm noted on Nov. 5 that animated enhanced infrared satellite imagery showed the Haiyan was intensifying quickly and bands of thunderstorms wrapping into the center were strengthening. There was a strong band of thunderstorms wrapping around the western semi-circle and into an eye detected by microwave satellite data.
JTWC expects the storm to intensify rapidly over the next two to three days as it moves through the Philippine Sea.
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On Nov. 4, NASA's TRMM satellite found precipitation falling at a rate of about 50 and 60 mm/1.9 and 2.3 inches per hour near Typhoon Haiyan's center and between 10 and 30 mm/0.39 and 1.18 inches per hour outside the center.
Image Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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Nov. 06, 2013 - NASA Sees Heavy Rain Around Super-Typhoon Haiyan's Eye
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Super Typhoon Haiyan continues moving toward the Philippines, and when NASA's TRMM satellite passed overhead, it was very close to the island of Palau and packing heavy rainfall. Haiyan is now equivalent to a Category 5 Hurricane.
The forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center or JTWC accurately predicted that Typhoon Haiyan would become a powerful category five typhoon with sustained winds estimated to be over 135 knots/~155 mph.
On Nov. 6, a typhoon Warning remained in effect for Kayangel and Koror in the Republic of Palau and Ngulu in Yap State and a tropical storm warning was in effect for Yap Island in Yap State.
Super typhoon Haiyan was located just northeast of Palau when the TRMM or Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite flew above on November 6, 2013 at 1026 UTC/5:26 a.m. EST. At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. a rainfall analysis from TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) instruments was overlaid on an enhanced infrared image from TRMM's Visible and InfraRed Scanner (VIRS). The data revealed that rain was falling at a rate of over 100mm/~3.9 inches per hour around Haiyan's eye.
 
Satellite data also showed a persistent ring of deep convection around the small eye. Haiyan's eye appeared to be about 8 nautical miles in diameter. The TRMM satellite's microwave data showed an intense convective core (thunderstorms building around the eye) and improved convective banding of thunderstorms in all quadrants of the super-typhoon.
At 1500 UTC/10 a.m. EDT, Super Typhoon Haiyan had maximum sustained winds near 140 knots/161 mph/259 kph. That makes Haiyan equivalent to a Category 5 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. 
The U.S. National Hurricane Center website indicates that a Category 5 hurricane/typhoon would cause catastrophic damage: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Hiayan's center was located near 8.1 north and 135.4 east, about 113 nautical miles/130 miles/209.3 km east-northeast of Koror, Palau. It is moving to the west at 18 knots/20.7 mph/33.4 kph and generating 43-foot/13.1-meter-high seas.
Super typhoon is expected to make landfall over the central Philippines just slightly on Nov. 8 and will slightly weaken as it tracks across the islands before emerging in the South China Sea.
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Data from TRMM's TMI and PR instruments on Nov. 6 at 1026 UTC revealed that rain was falling at a rate of over 100mm/~3.9 inches per hour (purple) around Haiyan's eye.
Image Credit: NASA/SSAI Hal Pierce
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Nov. 07, 2013 - NASA Satellites See Super-Typhoon Haiyan Lashing the Philippines
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Super-Typhoon Haiyan was lashing the central and southern Philippines on Nov. 7 bringing maximum sustained winds of a Category 5 hurricane. NASA is providing visible, infrared and microwave satellite data to forecasters and warnings are in effect for the Philippines and Micronesia as Haiyan moves west.
Brian McNoldy, a Senior Research Associate at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Miami, Fla. noted that on the morning (EST) of Nov. 7, "Haiyan has achieved tropical cyclone perfection. It is now estimated at 165kts (190mph), with an 8.0 on the Dvorak scale... the highest possible value."
Warnings in the Philippines have been raise throughout much of the country. In Luzon:
Signal #1 is in effect for : Camarines Norte & Sur, Catanduanes, Mindoro Provinces, Marinduque, Northern Palawan, Calamian Group of Islands, and Southern Quezon.
Signal #2 is in effect for: Romblon, Sorsogon, Albay, Ticao and Burias island.
In Visayas, Signal #1 is in effect for Squijor, and Signal #2 is in effect for: Bohol, Negros Occidental and Oriental, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, rest of Cebu, Iloilo and Guimara. Signal #3 is in effect for: Northern Samar, Masbate, northern Cebu, Cebu City and Bantayan island, and Signal #4 is in effect for: Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran island.
In Mindanao, Signal #1 was posted for: Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Sur; Signal #2 for: Camiguin, Surigao del Norte & Sur and Agusan del Norte and Signal #3 is in effect for: Siargao Island and Dinagat province.
In Micronesia, a Typhoon Warning is in effect for Kayangel and Koror in the Republic of Palau and Ngulu in Yap State.
Early on Nov. 7, NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Super Typhoon Haiyan as it was approaching the Philippines. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard captured a visible image on Nov. 7, 2013 at 04:25 UTC/Nov. 6 at 11:25 p.m. EDT that showed the thick bands of powerful thunderstorms that surrounded the eye. The MODIS image also revealed a powerful, wide band of thunderstorms in the western quadrant that was affecting the Philippines in the early morning hours (Eastern Daylight Time/U.S.) on Nov. 7.
At the same time, another instrument aboard Aqua captured infrared data on the storm using the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument, providing cloud top temperatures and sea surface temperatures. The infrared data revealed a sharply defined eye with multiple concentric rings of thunderstorms and a deep convective eyewall. The infrared data showed cloud top temperatures as cold as 210 degrees kelvin/-81.67F/-63.15C/ in the thick band of thunderstorms around the center. Those cold temperatures indicate very high, powerful thunderstorms with very heavy rain potential.
On Nov. 7 at 1500 UTC/10 a.m. EDT, Super-Typhoon Haiyan's maximum sustained winds were near 165 knots/189.9 mph/305.6 kph. Haiyan is a Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center estimated that gusts are as strong as 200 knots/ 230.2 mph/370.4 kph.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center website indicates that a Category 5 hurricane/typhoon would cause catastrophic damage: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Haiyan was located near 10.4 north latitude and 128.1 east longitude, about 543 nautical miles east-southeast of Manila, Philippines. It is moving west-northwest at 22 knots/25.3 mph/40.7 kph and generating extremely rough seas with wave heights to 50 feet/15.2 meters.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that extremely favorable environmental conditions such as the warm waters ahead of the system will help to maintain its strength at super typhoon intensity through landfall in the central Philippines and up to 1500 UTC/10 a.m. EDT on Nov. 8. According to forecast track, Manila is now expected to be impacted by the northeastern quadrant, the strongest side of the storm.  
After passing through the Philippines, Haiyan is expected to move through the South China Sea as it heads for landfall in Vietnam.
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This visible image of Super Typhoon Haiyan approaching the Philippines was taken from the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite on Nov. 7, 2013 at 04:25 UTC/Nov. 6 at 11:25 p.m. EDT.
Image Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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The AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured this infrared, false-colored image of Super-Typhoon Haiyan exiting the western Philippines on Nov. 8 at 04:59 UTC. Purple indicates coldest, most powerful thunderstorms with heavy rainfall potential.
Image Credit: NASA JPL/Ed Olsen
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Update #2 - NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Super-typhoon Haiyan Strike Philippines
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Super-typhoon Haiyan, equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane on the U.S. Saffir-Simpson scale, struck the central Philippines municipality of Guiuan at the southern tip of the province of Eastern Samar early Friday morning at 20:45 UTC (4:45 am local time). NASA's TRMM satellite captured visible, microwave and infrared data on the storm.
Haiyan made landfall as an extremely powerful super typhoon, perhaps the strongest ever recorded at landfall, with sustained winds estimated at 195 mph (315 kph) by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.  Previously, Hurricane Camille, which struck the northern Gulf Coast in 1969, held the record with 190 mph sustained winds at landfall. After striking Samar, Haiyan quickly crossed Leyte Gulf and the island of Leyte as it cut through the central Philippines.
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite captured an image of Haiyan just as it was crossing the island of Leyte in the central Philippines. Data was taken at 00:19 UTC (8:19 a.m. local) November 8, 2013 and showed the horizontal distribution of rain intensity within the Haiyan. Rain rates in the center of the swath were generated from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), and those in the outer swath were from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The data was put together at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. where rain rates were overlaid on infrared (IR) data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS).  It showed that Haiyan still had a well-defined eye surrounded by a symmetric area of moderate rain with several rainbands wrapping in from the south. The symmetric rain area around the eye is a testament to the storm's intensity--the stronger the storm, the more the features are smeared uniformly around the center.  At the time of the image, Haiyan's sustained winds were estimated to have dropped slightly to 160 knots/~185 mph from crossing Leyte.
TRMM passed over Haiyan about 10 hours later on Nov. 8 at 10:08 UTC/5:08 a.m. EDT/6:08 p.m. Philippines local time. Haiyan was passing south of Mindoro as it was beginning to exit the Philippines.  The center was less organized after having passed over the larger Philippines island of Panay, although a large area of heavy rain (shown in red) is now located just south of the center. At the time of this image, Haiyan's intensity was estimated to be 145 knots/~167 mph, still equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.
On Nov. 8 at 1500 UTC/11 a.m. EDT/12 a.m. Nov. 9 Philippines local time, Haiyan's maximum sustained winds had dropped to 135 knots/155.4 mph/250 kph. It slowed a bit, moving to the west at 20 knots/23.0 mph/37.0 kph. Although Haiyan was centered near 11.8 north and 120.6 east, about 170 miles south of Manila, its extent covered most of the Philippines.
So far, four fatalities have been reported as a result of the storm, but these are preliminary as communication to many areas was knocked out.  Haiyan is expected to continue moving in a general westward direction over the next 1 to 2 days before likely striking central Vietnam.
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NASA's TRMM satellite data on Nov. 8 at 00:19 UTC showed Haiyan had a well-defined eye surrounded by a symmetric area of moderate rain (green ring with a blue center) with several rainbands wrapping in from the south (green arcs) while crossing the island of Leyte in the central Philippines.
Image Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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TRMM saw Haiyan's center was less organized after having passed over the larger Philippines island of Panay, although a large area of heavy rain (shown in ed) is now located just south of the center. Haiyan was estimated to be 145 knots (~167 mph), still equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.
Image Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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Quelle: NASA
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Update: 9.11.2013
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NASA Peers Into One of Earth's Strongest Storms Ever
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NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft captured these infrared images of Super Typhoon Haiyan at 8:59 p.m. PST Nov. 7 (left) and 9:17 a.m. PST Nov. 8 (right). The storm’s coldest cloud-top temperatures and areas of heaviest rainfall are depicted by the brightest shades of purple.
Image Credit: 
NASA/JPL-Caltech
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New satellite images just obtained from NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua spacecraft and the Indian Space Research Organization’s OceanSAT-2 ocean wind scatterometer provide a glimpse into one of the most powerful storms ever recorded on Earth.

According to the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Typhoon Haiyan had maximum sustained winds of 195 mph (314 kilometers per hour), with gusts up to 235 mph (379 kilometers per hour) shortly before making landfall in the central Philippines today. That would make it one of the strongest storms ever recorded. Weather officials in the Philippines reported the storm, known locally as Typhoon Yolanda, came ashore with maximum sustained winds of 147 mph (235 kilometers per hour) and gusts of up to 170 mph (275 miles per hour).

The two AIRS images, acquired at 8:59 p.m. PST on Nov. 7 (left) and 9:17 a.m. PST on Nov. 8 (right), show the powerful storm in infrared. When the image on the left was acquired, the storm was located 214 miles (344 kilometers) south-southeast of Manila. By the time the image on the right was acquired, the fast-moving storm was already centered west of the Philippines, on a forecast track that will take it to Vietnam. The storm’s coldest cloud-top temperatures are indicated by the brightest shades of purple, and show where Haiyan’s heaviest rainfall was occurring. 

Another image, from the OSCAT radar scatterometer on the Indian Space Research Organization’s OceanSAT-2 satellite, shows Haiyan’s ocean surface winds at 5:30 p.m. PST on Nov. 6. The wind data were calculated by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., using an advanced wind retrieval algorithm designed for tropical cyclone conditions. The colors indicate wind speed and arrows indicate wind direction. The wind speeds were measured in 15-by-15-mile (24-by-24-kilometer) boxes that recorded a maximum value of 128 miles, or 206 kilometers, per hour). That’s why these wind speeds are lower than the maximum small-scale winds calculated by the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

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Visible image of Super Typhoon Haiyan acquired from NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft at 8:59 p.m. PST, Nov. 7.
Image Credit: 
NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Super Typhoon Haiyan’s ocean surface winds were measured by the OSCAT radar scatterometer on the Indian Space Research Organization’s OceanSAT-2 satellite at 5:30 p.m. PST on Nov. 6. The colors indicate wind speed and arrows indicate wind direction.
Image Credit: 
ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Quelle: NASA

2901 Views

Samstag, 9. November 2013 - 07:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Vorbereitungen für Start der MAVEN-Sonde am 18.November

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10.02.2013

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NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft is assembled and is undergoing environmental testing at Lockheed Martin Space Systems facilities, near Denver, Colo. MAVEN is the next mission to Mars and will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere.

During the environmental testing phase, the orbiter will undergo a variety of rigorous tests that simulate the extreme temperatures, vacuum and vibration the spacecraft will experience during the course of its mission. Currently, the spacecraft is in the company’s Reverberant Acoustic Laboratory being prepared to undergo acoustics testing that simulates the maximum sound and vibration levels the spacecraft will experience during launch.

Following the acoustics test, MAVEN will be subjected to a barrage of additional tests, including: separation/deployment shock, vibration, electromagnetic interference/electromagnetic compatibility and magnetics testing. The phase concludes with a thermal vacuum test where the spacecraft and its instruments are exposed to the vacuum and extreme hot and cold temperatures it will face in space.

“The assembly and integration of MAVEN has gone very smoothly and we’re excited to test our work over the next six months,” said Guy Beutelschies, MAVEN program manager at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. “Environmental testing is a crucial set of activities designed to ensure the spacecraft can operate in the extreme conditions of space.”

“I’m very pleased with how our team has designed and built the spacecraft and science instruments that will make our measurements,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator from CU/LASP. “We’ve got an exciting science mission planned, and the environmental testing now is what will ensure that we are ready for launch and for the mission.”

MAVEN is scheduled to ship from Lockheed Martin’s facility to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in early August where it will undergo final preparations for launch.

MAVEN, scheduled to launch in November 2013, is a robotic exploration mission to understand the role that loss of atmospheric gas to space played in changing the Martian climate through time. It will investigate how much of the Martian atmosphere has been lost over time by measuring the current rate of escape to space and gathering enough information about the relevant processes to extrapolate backward in time.

“This phase of the program is particularly important in that it will provide us with a good assessment of the MAVEN system’s capabilities under the simulated extremes of the space environment,” said David Mitchell, MAVEN project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Of significance, the spacecraft is entering system level test right on schedule, while maintaining robust cost and schedule reserves to deal with the technical or programmatic surprises that could occur during test or in the run to launch. Tracking on plan is critically important to being ready for launch later this year and the science that MAVEN will deliver one year later.”

MAVEN’s principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The university will provide science operations, science instruments and lead Education/Public Outreach. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the project and provides two of the science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colo., built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. The University of California at Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory provides science instruments for the mission. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support, the Deep Space Network and the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.

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NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft recently completed assembly and has started environmental testing. In the Multipurpose Test Facility clean room at Lockheed Martin, technicians installed the orbiter’s two solar arrays prior to a modal test. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)

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Quelle: NASA

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Update: 17.07.2013

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Lockheed Martin and CU-Boulder prepare to ship MAVEN for launch
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is about to leave Jefferson County and head to Cape Canaveral where it will be hurled toward Mars in November on a mission largely devised and developed on Colorado soil.
MAVEN was open for viewing for the last time in its home state on Monday at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. It is set to be disassembled and shipped to Florida's coast on Aug. 2. There it will spent 3-½ months being prepped for launch.
The project is NASA's first mission to the red planet since the headline-grabbing Mars Curiosity Rover made its harrowing landing on its surface nearly a year ago, producing public enthusiasm that MAVEN's program leaders hope to harness.
"We are still trying to get 10,000 people to this launch," said Lisa May, program executive for the Mars program at NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "The science follows on, part and parcel to what we are doing on Curiosity."
The mission is not a lander but an orbiter and is the first mission ever devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. MAVEN's ultimate goal is to determine the impact that the loss of atmospheric gas has had on climate change.
"We are trying to understand the history of our planets and the world around us. And, really, we are trying to understand what it means to be human," said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN'S principal investigator from CU-Boulder.
Jakosky has been working on the science of this mission for 10 years. While parallels are often drawn between Mars and Earth, he cautions against comparison when it comes to the mission's purpose.
"What we are not doing is studying Mars to understand Earth," Jakosky said.
The project's estimated cost is $453 million with about $300 million expected to flow directly into the state because of MAVEN. NASA's Mars program executive, May, praised the team for being on-time and on-budget, both of which are increasingly important in a budget-constrained environment.
For MAVEN, timeliness is key. Its launch window opens on November 18 and lasts for only 20 days. If the spacecraft was not ready, it would have to wait two years before the planets were aligned and close enough to make the journey.
Out of the project's purse, $50 million has gone directly to CU.
"It's the whopper of all contracts. It's the biggest (we've ever received)," said Russell Moore, Provost at CU-Boulder. "Aside from the science, which is spectacular, there's a really strong ethos of undergraduate engagement at LASP."
LASP, which stands for Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, is housed at CU-Boulder and will serve as the hub for all science operations on MAVEN. Meanwhile, just down the road near Littleton, Lockheed will man the spacecraft for its life cycle.
"It's an interesting and exciting example of an industry-academia partnership," Jakosky said.
Lockheed is building off a strong Mars legacy, with this being its fourth orbiter for the Martian atmosphere. The company's Jefferson County facility has had the equivalent of 210 full time employees working on the spacecraft at the peak of activity.
"We love Mars. We have people who work here just because they have the chance to work on Mars missions," said Guy Beutelschies, MAVEN spacecraft program manager at Lockheed Martin. "We are hopeful that we get to work on the next Mars lander in 2020."
Beutelschies worked on the Mars Pathfinder, which was a lander, and the Mars Global Surveyor, an orbiter. The two missions launched only one month apart.
"The lander got all the press while the orbiter was doing some really amazing science," Beutelschies said. "I hope they aren't competing this time but are complementary. This spacecraft is going to help Curiosity out on its mission goals."
But Beutelschies hopes that this time, there is enough of a gap between the two launches to help theirs get more attention.
In addition to Lockheed Martin and CU-Boulder, the mission's Colorado connections include Centennial-based United Launch Alliance, which is providing the Atlas V launch vehicle and numerous other Colorado companies that are subcontractors to Lockheed on the program, such as SEAKR Engineering and Red Canyon Engineering and Software.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is managing the project and providing two of the on-board science instruments, the University of California at Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory is providing four science instruments for the mission and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California is , providing navigation support, the Deep Space Network and the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations needed to communicate with the spacecraft.
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Lockheed Martin engineer Jack Farmerie is preparing to remove the primary high gain antennae from the MAVEN spacecraft for transport. The NASA MAVEN Mars spacecraft is spending its final days at Lockheed Martin labs before it is packed and shipped to Florida in early August. (Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post)
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Update: 4.08.2013

DENVER - The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft is now in Cape Canaveral.

MAVEN will be hurled toward Mars in November on a mission largely designed and constructed in Colorado. The project is NASA's first mission to Mars since Curiosity Rover a year ago.

MAVEN is not a lander. It's an orbiter, and its first mission is devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. The ultimate goal is to determine the impact that the loss of atmosphere had on climate change.

Some of the engineers have been working on this project for more than a decade.

The estimated cost is $453 million - about $300 million has flowed directly into Colorado.

Timing is critical, however. The launch window opens on Nov. 18 and lasts for about 20 days.

The University of Colorado-Boulder has played a part of this project also. Its labs will serve as the hub for all science operations on MAVEN.

Lockheed Martin will man the spacecraft while it's still flying. As many as 210 people worked on this project at Lockheed Martin.

Colorado has the nation's second-largest aerospace economy. There are more than 200 space-related companies that call the state home. More than 166,000 people are employed in space-related jobs.

Quelle: NBC

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MAVEN makes its last stop before Mars

Orbiter arrives at KSC; November launch planned

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A NASA spacecraft has reached its last stop before embarking on a 10-month journey to Mars, arriving Friday at Kennedy Space Center to prepare for a planned November blastoff.

An Air Force C-17 cargo plane delivered the MAVEN orbiter from Colorado to the former shuttle runway around 8 p.m.

MAVEN is short for “Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution.”

The $671 million mission, carrying three suites of instruments, will spend at least a year studying the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere and climate history.

Scientists hope to learn more about why most of Mars’ once thicker, warmer atmosphere was lost, changing a more habitable climate to its current cold, dry state.

After its delivery here, the Lockheed Martin Corp.-built orbiter was headed to KSC’s Payloads Hazardous Servicing Facility for pre-launch testing.

The spacecraft is expected to move to a Cape Canaveral launch pad in early November to be hoisted atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The launch must hit a 20-day window between Nov. 18 and Dec. 7, or else wait two years for the proper planetary alignment to return.

NASA says the mission is on track to launch Nov. 18 and begin orbiting Mars in September 2014.

NASA on Tuesday will celebrate the anniversary of its Curiosity rover touching down on the Martian surface.

After MAVEN, the space agency plans to launch the InSight stationary lander to Mars in 2016, and is studying the possible launch of another rover in 2020.
NASA's MAVEN underwent acoustics testing in February at Lockheed Martin Space Systems' Reverberant Acoustic Laboratory. MAVEN is the first spacecraft devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. / Lockheed Martin Corp.

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Quelle: Florida-Today
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Update: 6.08.2013
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NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatiles Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is seen inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility on Aug. 3. 2013 at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. MAVEN will be prepared inside the facility for its scheduled November launch to Mars.

NASA's next spacecraft going to Mars arrived Friday, Aug. 2, at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and is now perched in a cleanroom to begin final preparations for its November launch.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is undergoing detailed testing and fueling prior to being moved to its launch pad. The mission has a 20-day launch period that opens Nov. 18.

The spacecraft will conduct the first mission dedicated to surveying the upper atmosphere of Mars. Scientists expect to obtain unprecedented data that will help them understand how the loss of atmospheric gas to space may have played a part in changing the planet's climate.

"We're excited and proud to ship the spacecraft right on schedule," said David Mitchell, MAVEN project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "But more critical milestones lie ahead before we accomplish our mission of collecting science data from Mars. I firmly believe the team is up to the task. Now we begin the final push to launch."

Over the weekend, the team confirmed the spacecraft arrived in good condition. They removed the spacecraft from the shipping container and secured it to a rotation fixture in the cleanroom. In the next week, the team will reassemble components previously removed for transport. Further checks prior to launch will include software tests, spin balance tests, and test deployments of the spacecraft's solar panels and booms.

The spacecraft was transported from Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., on Friday, aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo plane. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colo., designed and built the spacecraft and is responsible for testing, launch processing, and mission operations.

"It's always a mix of excitement and stress when you ship a spacecraft down to the launch site," said Guy Beutelschies, MAVEN program manager at Lockheed Martin. "It's similar to moving your children to college after high school graduation. You're proud of the hard work to get to this point, but you know they still need some help before they're ready to be on their own."

Previous Mars missions detected energetic solar fields and particles that could drive atmospheric gases away from Mars. Unlike Earth, Mars does not have a planet-wide magnetic field that would deflect these solar winds. As a result, these winds may have stripped away much of Mars' atmosphere.

MAVEN's data will help scientists reconstruct the planet's past climate. Scientists will use MAVEN data to project how Mars became the cold, dusty desert planet we see today. The planned one-year mission begins with the spacecraft entering the Red Planet's orbit  in September 2014.

"MAVEN is not going to detect life," said Bruce Jakosky, planetary scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder and MAVEN's principal investigator. "But it will help us understand the climate history, which is the history of its habitability."

MAVEN's principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder. The university provides science instruments and leads science operations, education and public outreach.

Goddard manages the project and provides two of the science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. The University of California at Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory provides science instruments for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support, Deep Space Network support, and Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.

Quelle: NASA

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Update: 27.08.2013

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Rocket for MAVEN Mars mission arrives at Cape

 

The Atlas V rocket booster and Centaur upper stage will launch NASA's next Mars orbiter in November. The components arrived at Cape Canaveral on Monday, August 26, 2013.

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The Atlas V booster and Centaur upper stage that will launch NASA's next Mars orbiter rolled off a ship this morning at a Cape Canaveral Air Force Station wharf.

The roughly 19-story rocket, when fully fully assembled, is scheduled to launch the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission, or MAVEN, on Nov. 18.

 

That's the opening of an official 20-day launch window, but mission managers say they have another 15 days available if needed.

 

The MAVEN spacecraft is undergoing preflight tests at Kennedy Space Center.

 

The rocket was delivered from Decatur, Ala., aboard United Launch Alliance's Mariner ship.

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Update: 18.09.2013 

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Mars-Sonde MAVEN wird von NASA der Presse am 27.September 2013 vorgestellt.

NASA Offers Media Access to Next Mars Mission Spacecraft on Sept. 27
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NASA’s next Mars-bound spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) will be the focus of a media opportunity on Friday, Sept. 27, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 
The event at the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility is an opportunity to photograph MAVEN and interview project and launch program officials.  MAVEN will be seen with its solar arrays deployed. MAVEN is targeted to launch from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Complex 41 atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Nov. 18.
There will be two opportunities to photograph the spacecraft on Sept. 27. For the first opportunity, media will begin boarding buses at 8:15 a.m. EDT at the Kennedy Press Site for transportation to the facility. Return to the press site is expected by 11:45 a.m. For the second opportunity, media will begin boarding buses at 11:15 a.m. Return to the press site is expected by 2:45 p.m.
Individuals entering the cleanroom where the spacecraft is being prepared for launch must follow procedures for optically sensitive spacecraft. Full cleanroom attire (bunny suits) will be furnished and must be worn. Perfume, cologne and makeup are not allowed.  Long pants and closed-toe shoes must be worn. No shorts or skirts will be permitted.
Photographers will need to clean camera equipment under the supervision of contamination-control specialists. All camera equipment must be self-contained, and no portable lights will be allowed. Non-essential equipment, such as suede, leather or vinyl camera bags or other carrying cases, must be left outside the cleanroom.  No notebook paper, pencils, or click-type ball point pens are permitted. Cleanroom paper will be provided. No food, tobacco, chewing gum, lighters, matches or pocketknives will be allowed. Use of wireless microphones and cellular telephones is not allowed inside the cleanroom. Electronic flash will be permitted. The lighting in the facility is high-pressure sodium (orange).  
MAVEN is the second mission for NASA’s Mars Scout Program and will obtain critical measurements of the Martian atmosphere to help understand climate change over the Red Planet’s history.
MAVEN is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. It will orbit the planet in an elliptical orbit that allows it to pass through and sample the entire upper atmosphere on every orbit. The spacecraft will investigate how the loss of Mars’ atmosphere to space determined the history of water on the surface.
MAVEN's principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The university will provide science operations, science instruments and lead education and public outreach. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages the project and provides two of the science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colo., built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. The University of California at Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory provides science instruments for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support, the Deep Space Network and the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.
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Update: 19.09.2013
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Inside Kennedy’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility technicians clean the electricity-producing solar arrays for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft Aug. 28.
 
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Quelle: NASA 
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Update: 22.09.2013
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Communications Tests Go the Distance for MAVEN
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Engineers work on the MAVEN spacecraft, which is dominated by the high-gain antenna that is crucial to communications with NASA's Deep Space Network.
Image Credit: 
NASA/Kim Shiflett
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It's not easy to simulate millions of miles electronically, but that's what engineers did recently as they tested the all-important communications system the MAVEN spacecraft will use to relay its study results from Mars orbit to Earth-bound researchers.

Working from their consoles at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, a team of test engineers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, better known as JPL, conducted more than a week of evaluations on the antennas and circuitry aboard the spacecraft.

They beamed signals to the low-gain and high-gain antennas on MAVEN and basically treated the machine as though it really were flying on a 10-month journey from Earth to Mars and then studying the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet.

Such work is critical, mission managers said, because there is no way to fix a spacecraft's communications system once it leaves Earth.

"It doesn't matter what we do out there if we can't get the data back to Earth," said Jeff Coyne, Lockheed Martin's Assembly Test and Launch Operations manager for the project.

MAVEN is short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution. It is scheduled to launch in November aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V.

"I say this is one of the most important things, because if we can't talk to it . . . ," said Sheryl Bergstrom, manager of JPL's Cape Operations Office at Kennedy.

The testing was standard stuff for the engineers, but nonetheless mind-bending considering that the spacecraft will operate millions of miles from Earth and rely on commands from operators at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

To mimic the distances between the spacecraft and Earth, the electronic signals sent between the two during testing are run through a cabling system that quickly ramps down the power by going through various wiring networks.

"We'll try to squeeze the signal down to its lowest possible point," said Chris Green, an engineer with Exelis who supervised the testing. "It's a machine and we test its actual flight performance -- every scenario of flight configuration it would be in is what we go through in testing."

"We allow the project to get online and do what they would do on a normal day so they can perform all the tasks through us just as if MAVEN was actually in space," said Lorenzo Morgan, one of the engineers operating and evaluating the procedures.

Although every spacecraft goes through intense communications testing, the work is not considered routine because every spacecraft has unique requirements.

"Every mission is different, every mission has its own peculiarities," said Albert Ibarra, also a test engineer for the communications system. "You have to know the details on every spacecraft design and so you become familiar with it as soon as they start putting the spacecraft together."

NASA has an intricate system of antennas in California, Spain and Australia to pick up and transmit signals to its fleet of spacecraft that now reaches out beyond the solar system in the form of Voyager 1.

Called the Deep Space Network and referred to by its acronym, DSN, the system uses antennas almost as big as a football field to communicate with the spacecraft that are using their own much smaller antennas and more limited power sources.

It's the system NASA uses to communicate with all of its interplanetary probes and some of the spacecraft studying Earth, as well. In addition to Voyager 1, whose signal is incredibly weak because of the vast distance it is from Earth, the network is picking up signals from newer spacecraft such as New Horizons, which is speeding toward Pluto. Cassini in orbit around Saturn, Juno on its way to Jupiter and the Curiosity rover operating on Mars all relay their data to Earth on the DSN and get their commands from ground operators through the same network.

Kennedy's portion of the DSN structure is a testing facility called MIL-71, a reference to the time when the space center was known as the Merritt Island Launch Annex. Every time a spacecraft comes to Kennedy for launch preparations, a team of engineers sets up racks of equipment and computer servers before beginning several days of 12-hour shifts to make sure the mission's communications system and interface with the Deep Space Network will work.

With the spacecraft checked out, the team takes its gear back to California and gets ready for launch day, knowing very well that it won't hear anything from the spacecraft until well after liftoff. In the case of MAVEN, the engineers and scientists won't find out if the testing really was successful until 54 minutes after launch from Cape Canaveral when MAVEN makes its initial contact with the DSN.

"When the signal is acquired," said Bergstrom, a veteran of long wait-times for good missions and bad, "that's when we get to breathe."

Quelle: NASA

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Update: 28.09.2013
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NASA offers look at Mars orbiter MAVEN targeting Nov. 18 launch

 
Techicians at Kennedy Space Center do final testing and preparations to the MAVEN spacecraft, designed to orbit Mars and make scientific measurements. MAVEN is scheduled to be launched between Nov. 18 and Dec. 7 on an Atlas V rocket.
NASA today showed off its next Mars-bound orbiter less than two months before its scheduled blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.The $671 million Maven mission will spend at least a year studying Mars’ upper atmosphere to determine how a once warm and wet planet became cold and dry.

"It’s going to tell us why the atmosphere changed over time," said Bruce Janofsky, the mission’s lead scientist from the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. "We think that the surface was conducive to supporting life four billion years ago, and not today, and we’re trying to learn why."

The spacecraft is undergoing pre-launch tests and preparations at Kennedy Space Center before moving to the Cape in early November for attachment to a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The launch is targeted for Nov. 18, the opening of a 20-day window, to start a 10-month journey to Mars.

"These are exciting times," said Dave Mitchell, NASA project manager from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "We’ve been working on this mission for years, and we’re close now, real close, and we’re going to Mars, so it’s really pretty cool to be at this point."

NASA today invited members of the media to don light blue bunny suits and enter an ultra-clean Kennedy high bay where Maven sat in an orange glow with two black solar array wings spread out.

From tip to tip, the spacecraft measured about the length of a school bus.
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Quelle: NASA
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Update: 4.10.2013
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NASA's MAVEN Mission Spared from Shutdown
Launch preparations will resume

In an increasingly rare display of sanity from Washington, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) was declared "excepted" from the current government shutdown so preparations for its November launch could continue.

Bruce Jakosky, the Principal Investigator for the MAVEN mission, shared the news:

    I learned this morning that NASA has analyzed the MAVEN mission relative to the Anti-Deficiency Act and determined that it meets the requirements allowing an emergency exception.
     
    MAVEN is required as a communications relay in order to be assured of continued communications with the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers.  The rovers are presently supported by Mars Odyssey launched in 2001 and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched in 2005.  Launching MAVEN in 2013 protects the existing assets that are at Mars today.
     
    A delay in the launch date by more than a week past the end of the nominal launch period, or a delay of launch to 2016, would require additional fuel to get into orbit.  This would have precluded having sufficient fuel for MAVEN to carry out its science mission and to operate as a relay for any significant time.  Our nominal launch period runs from 18 November through 7 December, and we can launch as late as about 15 December without a significant impact on our combined science and relay activities.  There is no NASA relay orbiter planned post-MAVEN.
     
    Although the exception for MAVEN is not being done for science reasons, the science of MAVEN clearly will benefit from this action. Launching in 2013 allows us to observe at a good time in the eleven-year solar cycle.
     
    We have already restarted spacecraft processing at Kennedy Space Center, working toward being ready to launch on Nov. 18.  We will continue to work over the next couple of days to identify any changes in our schedule or plans that are necessary to stay on track.

As reported earlier, the MAVEN spacecraft is in its final stages of assembly and testing at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. While the team had a few days of buffer built in to the schedule, an extended shutdown of activity would have delayed MAVEN's launch, potentially past the tight, three-week opportunity that comes around every 26 months.
MAVEN with solar panels open in the clean room for the last time

NASA / Kim Shiflett
MAVEN with solar panels open in the clean room for the last time
On September 27, 2013, members of the media were given a final opportunity to view the MAVEN Mars orbiter before it was prepared for launch.

Missing the launch opportunity would cost NASA hundreds of millions of dollars to store both the spacecraft and the Atlas V rocket for the next two years.

From an interview with Universe Today, mission PI Bruce Jakosky emphasized their determination to get MAVEN to Mars on time:

    [Jakosky] said the team will do whatever necessary, including overtime, to launch MAVEN to the Red Planet by Dec. 7.

    "The team is committed to getting to the launch pad at this opportunity, and is willing to work double shifts and seven days a week if necessary. That plus the existing margin gives us some flexibility."

    That’s why I'm concerned but not yet panicked at this point.

Even though the MAVEN launch activities are excepted from shutdown, the employees working for NASA will not be paid. Congress must pass additional legislation to provide any backpay during a government shutdown.
Quelle: The Planetary Society
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MAVEN reactivation status update

October 3
MAVEN Principal Investigator Bruce Jakosky

Let me tell you the current status of MAVEN. I learned this morning that NASA has analyzed the MAVEN mission relative to the Anti-Deficiency Act and determined that it meets the requirements allowing an emergency exception.

MAVEN is required as a communications relay in order to be assured of continued communications with the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers. The rovers are presently supported by Mars Odyssey launched in 2001 and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched in 2005. Launching MAVEN in 2013 protects the existing assets that are at Mars today.

A delay in the launch date by more than a week past the end of the nominal launch period, or a delay of launch to 2016, would require additional fuel to get into orbit. This would have precluded having sufficient fuel for MAVEN to carry out its science mission and to operate as a relay for any significant time. Our nominal launch period runs from 18 November through 7 December, and we can launch as late as about 15 December without a significant impact on our combined science and relay activities. There is no NASA relay orbiter planned post-MAVEN.

Although the exception for MAVEN is not being done for science reasons, the science of MAVEN clearly will benefit from this action. Launching in 2013 allows us to observe at a good time in the eleven-year solar cycle.

We have already restarted spacecraft processing at Kennedy Space Center, working toward being ready to launch on Nov. 18. We will continue to work over the next couple of days to identify any changes in our schedule or plans that are necessary to stay on track.

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After a two-day shutdown, processing work will resume on the MAVEN spacecraft, shown here during an illumination test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. (Courtesy NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Quelle: MAVEN

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Update: 12.10.2013
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Atlas 5 launcher erected for MAVEN's launch to Mars
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United Launch Alliance on Friday began assembling the Atlas 5 rocket assigned to launch NASA's MAVEN mission in November and send the orbiter on a 10-month cruise to Mars to help decipher the red planet's thinning atmosphere.
The Atlas 5's bronze first stage traveled from a storage building at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., to the Vertical Integration Facility at Complex 41 early Friday. Cranes hoisted the 106.6-foot-long first stage vertical and deftly placed the rocket atop the Atlas 5's mobile launch table.

Powered by an RD-180 main engine delivering 860,000 pounds of thrust, the first stage is known as the Common Core Booster. It houses tanks to hold 50,000 gallons of chilled liquid oxygen and 25,000 gallons of RP-1 fuel, a highly refined variety of kerosene, for the RD-180 engine's four-minute burn to reach the upper atmosphere.

Technicians planned to add an interstage adapter before hoisting the Atlas 5's Centaur upper stage atop the booster Monday, completing the build-up of the two-stage rocket.

The launch of NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission only requires the most basic version of the Atlas 5 rocket. Called the "401" configuration, the Atlas 5 rocket for MAVEN features no solid rocket boosters, a Centaur stage with a single RL10 engine, and a four-meter payload fairing.

ULA can add strap-on boosters, a second RL10 engine and a larger five-meter nose shroud for payloads requiring the extra capability.

The launch of MAVEN will be the seventh Atlas 5 flight of the year, and the sixth from Cape Canaveral's seaside launch pad. ULA workers are in the final stretch of integrating and testing a Delta 4 rocket and its payload, a U.S. Air Force GPS navigation satellite, at Complex 37B for launch Oct. 23, less than 4 miles from the Atlas 5 rocket's launch pad.

Preparations for MAVEN's launch continue despite the partial shutdown of the federal government. After a two-day pause in the spacecraft's processing last week, NASA granted an exemption to resume work on MAVEN, which is in a time crunch to launch in a narrow window between Nov. 18 and mid-December.

Mars missions can only launch when the planets are properly aligned, and the next opportunity to launch MAVEN after December comes in early 2016.

But thanks to its exemption from the government shutdown, MAVEN is on schedule to launch Nov. 18 in a two-hour launch window opening at 1:28 p.m. EST (1828 GMT).

The $671 million mission will reach Mars in September 2014, entering an elliptical orbit dipping into the outermost layers of the Martian atmosphere to sample its composition and measure its response to stimuli from solar activity.

Scientists hope MAVEN will address uncertainties in how Mars evolved from a planet with a warmer, thicker atmosphere with water into the barren world observed today.

Technicians from Lockheed Martin Corp., MAVEN's prime contractor, will load about 3,600 pounds of hydrazine fuel into the spacecraft's propellant tank Oct. 24. The Atlas 5's clamshell-like payload fairing will encapsulate MAVEN on Nov. 5, and workers plan to transport the Mars orbiter to the Atlas 5 launch pad Nov. 7 to top off the 19-story launcher.

Quelle: ULA

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Update: 18.10.2013
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CU-Boulder's MAVEN one month from Mars departure

Project seen as one of university's most ambitious space ventures
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After nearly a decade of preparation, the countdown is now at one month for MAVEN, one of the most momentous space missions in which the University of Colorado has ever been involved.

The launch window raises Nov. 18 and extends through Dec. 7, although mission principal investigator Bruce Jakosky, of a professor at CU's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, said it could depart for Mars as late as Dec. 15 without a significant impact on its activities.

CU boasts a long history in space, with 19 of 20 CU-affiliated astronauts having flown in space, and its scientists having placed dozens of payloads on NASA's 135 shuttle missions. But the $670 million MAVEN -- Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution -- is stirring an added level of excitement in the university's science community and beyond.

"It's got to be in the top three or top five, something like that," said Bill Possel, LASP's science operations center manager for the MAVEN project, "the fact that CU is in charge of the entire mission."

Jakosky, a geological sciences professor, wrote in an email, "MAVEN will be able to tell us about the history of the climate and what caused the changes and it will not tell us whether life actually existed or still might exist on Mars today.

"MAVEN is about understanding the history of the habitability of Mars by microbes. But we will not determine whether it actually is inhabited by microbes."

He said its significance to the university's space legacy stems from "the fact that we could credibly propose a mission like this, provide two science instruments, do the science operations, all take advantage of this long history and the experience that comes with it," he wrote in an email. "MAVEN is certainly the largest program we've ever led, and the most visible."

Scuttled by politics -- but only briefly

MAVEN was temporarily but seriously jeopardized by the federal government shutdown, which began Oct. 1.

The project was shut down -- all operations put into what scientists call a "safe state" -- but not for long. Jakosky learned Oct. 3 that NASA had given MAVEN an emergency exemption, ruling that other functions it can also perform, such as serving as a data relay station for other Mars-based NASA exploration, made it an essential operation.

"There was a lot of nervousness for us," said Guy Beutelschies, program manager for Lockheed Martin Space Systems, which manufactured the spacecraft at its plant in Littleton, and who is now also in Florida preparing for the launch. "This alignment of Earth and Mars, we would have had to wait over two years before they're in position again."

Possel said he spent the roughly 48 hours that MAVEN appeared threatened by government gridlock "shaking in my boots."

"But I was thrilled to see that we were restarted (Oct. 3)," he said. "At this point, we are looking great for that Nov. 18 launch date."

Possel will be on hand for the launch and should have plenty of company. CU has organized a series of events for the roughly 300 alumni, faculty, staff and others who have registered for university-sponsored activities in Florida.

Those will start with a reception and talk by Jakosky the evening of Nov. 16, followed by a bus tour at the Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 17. Launch morning will kick off with a lecture called "CU in Space," presented by CU astrophysics professor Erika Ellington, before buses leave for Launch Complex 41 for a liftoff slated between 1:29 and 3:29 p.m.

But Buffs-centric space buffs won't have to be in Florida to share in the excitement because a MAVEN launch party is set for the University Memorial Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with activities for visiting K-12 students as well as live-streaming from NASA of MAVEN's departure.

MAVEN headed to Martian orbit

It will take about 10 months for MAVEN to reach the Martian orbit, where it will be gathering data for at least one year. Its stay there could last longer.

"Our primary mission is one Earth year," Jakosky said. "We chose that duration because, in a year of observations, we can collect the data that would allow us to answer the science questions we originally posed.

"After that year is over, we hope to continue to be able to collect data. We can use a longer period of data collection to answer a set of augmented science questions."

Jakosky sees a "very high science value" in the mission being extended, but NASA has not yet committed to doing so.

Collecting the data will be three separate instrument packages. They are the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, which can measure different isotope rations; the Imaging Ultra Violet Spectrograph, built in Boulder by LASP; and the Particles and Fields package, which contains six different instruments.

One of the six instruments in the Particles and Fields package is known as the Langmuir Probe and Waves, tasked with measuring electron density and temperature, electric fields and extreme ultraviolet observations from the sun.

LASP's Laila Andersson is co-investigator on the Langmuir instrument. She points out that the only previous data on electron temperature in the Martian atmosphere came from the Viking 1 and 2 landings in 1976.

"Since those two landers, we haven't measured the electron temperature in the atmosphere, and all the atmospheric modeling from Mars is based on those measurements," Andersson said. "It is very tricky to model the electron temperatures; therefore getting more observations is important."

Anderrson is one of roughly 150 LASP personnel who have worked on the project -- and will be among the 55 who will be part of the contingent at the Kennedy Space Center for the launch.

CU has many MAVEN partners. They include NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, which manages the project and provided two of the science instruments for the mission. The University of California at Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory provided science instruments for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, at Pasadena, Calif., will provide navigation support, and Centennial-based United Launch Alliance built the Atlas V rocket MAVEN will ride on.

Lockheed's Beutelschies, a CU graduate himself and former member of LASP, said Lockheed has been involved on some level with every NASA Mars mission back to the Viking project.

"But this is the first mission where the university has been our principal investigator, and so getting to work with CU, that makes it special," Beutelschies said.

Asked if there would be any black and gold on board, he joked: "Maybe hidden here and there. Just don't tell anybody."

Quelle: Capella University

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Update: 20.10.2013
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Radome Installed on MAVEN

Inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, engineers and technicians install a radome over the antenna for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft. The radome is a coated kapton cover providing thermal protection for the high gain antenna while not interfering with radio frequency transmissions from the spacecraft.

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Testing MAVEN's Solar Wind Electron Analyzer

Inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, engineers and technicians deploy the Solar Wind Electron Analyzer boom on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft. The analyzer will measure the solar wind and electrons in the ionosphere of the Red Planet.

Quelle: NASA

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Update: 21.10.2013

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Quelle: ULA

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Update: 28.10.2013

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NASA will host a news briefing at 2 p.m. EDT Monday, Oct. 28, to discuss the upcoming launch of the agency's next mission to Mars and the first devoted to understanding the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet.
The briefing on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission will take place at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St. SW in Washington, and air live on NASA Television and the agency's website.
MAVEN is scheduled to launch at 1:28 p.m. EST Nov. 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. MAVEN's data will be used to study the history and change of Mars’ atmosphere, climate, and planetary habitability.
 
Briefing participants are:
- John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
- Jim Green, director, Planetary Science Division, Headquarters
- Lisa May, MAVEN program executive, Headquarters
- Kelly Fast, MAVEN program scientist, Headquarters
- Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator, University of Colorado Boulder Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
- David Mitchell, MAVEN project manager, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Quelle: NASA

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Update: 29.10.2013

NASA Prepares to Launch First Mission to Explore Martian Atmosphere
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Oct. 21, 2013 -- Inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, engineers and technicians perform a spin test of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft. The operation is designed to verify that MAVEN is properly balanced as it spins during the initial mission activities. (NASA)
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A NASA spacecraft that will examine the upper atmosphere of Mars in unprecedented detail is undergoing final preparations for a scheduled 1:28 p.m. EST Monday, Nov. 18 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN) will examine specific processes on Mars that led to the loss of much of its atmosphere. Data and analysis could tell planetary scientists the history of climate change on the Red Planet and provide further information on the history of planetary habitability.
"The MAVEN mission is a significant step toward unraveling the planetary puzzle about Mars' past and present environments," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "The knowledge we gain will build on past and current missions examining Mars and will help inform future missions to send humans to Mars."
The 5,410-pound spacecraft will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket on a 10-month journey to Mars. After arriving at Mars in September 2014, MAVEN will settle into its elliptical science orbit.
Over the course of its one-Earth-year primary mission, MAVEN will observe all of Mars' latitudes. Altitudes will range from 93 miles to more than 3,800 miles. During the primary mission, MAVEN will execute five deep dip maneuvers, descending to an altitude of 78 miles. This marks the lower boundary of the planet's upper atmosphere.
"Launch is an important event, but it's only a step along the way to getting the science measurements," said Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator at the University of Colorado, Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP) in Boulder. "We're excited about the science we'll be doing, and are anxious now to get to Mars."
The MAVEN spacecraft will carry three instrument suites. The Particles and Fields Package, provided by the University of California at Berkeley with support from CU/LASP and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., contains six instruments to characterize the solar wind and the ionosphere of Mars. The Remote Sensing Package, built by CU/LASP, will determine global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. The Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, built by Goddard, will measure the composition of Mars’ upper atmosphere.
"When we proposed and were selected to develop MAVEN back in 2008, we set our sights on Nov. 18, 2013, as our first launch opportunity," said Dave Mitchell, MAVEN project manager at Goddard. "Now we are poised to launch on that very day. That's quite an accomplishment by the team."
MAVEN's principal investigator is based at CU/LASP. The university provided science instruments and leads science operations, as well as education and public outreach, for the mission.
Goddard manages the project and provided two of the science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. The University of California at Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory provided science instruments for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support, Deep Space Network support, and Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.
Quelle: NASA

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Update: 6.11.2013 

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Quelle: ulalaunch

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Update: 8.11.2013 
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NASA Mars orbiter hoisted atop Atlas V rocket at Cape

On Wednesday, engineers and technicians moved NASA's Maven spacecraft, inside its payload fairing, onto a trailer inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center for transport to Launch Complex 41, where it will be hoisted atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Credit: NASA/Kim
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NASA’s next Mars orbiter is sitting atop the Atlas V rocket that is scheduled to start a 10-month journey to the Red Planet with a 1:28 p.m. Nov. 18 blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The Maven spacecraft left a Kennedy Space Center processing facility on a specialized transporter at 12:33 a.m. today and reached the Vertical Integration Facility at Launch Complex 41 around 3 a.m.
Crews began lifting the spacecraft, which was already enclosed in a protective fairing, at about 6:45 a.m. and it was gently set atop the rocket an hour later.
Short for “Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution,” the $671 million Maven mission will be the first to study Mars’ upper atmosphere and history of climate change.
The 5,600-pound spacecraft built by Lockheed Martin Corp. will be powered on for tests Saturday, and teams will perform an integrated systems test with the 188-foot United Launch Alliance rocket on Monday.
Quelle: Florida Today

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Update: 9.11.2013 
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4030 Views

Freitag, 8. November 2013 - 21:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - REALITY SHOW "Space Race"

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REALITY SHOW "SPACE RACE" AIMS TO GIVE ORDINARY AMERICANS A SHOT AT SPACE TRAVEL

WITH A PRICE TAG OF $250,000, COMMERCIAL SPACE TRAVEL IS NOT A POSSIBILITY FOR THE 99%. SPACE RACE, A NEW MARK BURNETT REALITY SHOW, HOPES TO SEND AN AVERAGE JOE WINNER INTO ORBIT WITH PARTNER VIRGIN GALACTIC.

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"Deep Space Homer," a beloved episode of The Simpsons, featured a cash-strapped NASA boosting public interest in the space program by sending ordinary American Homer Simpson into orbit. Turns out, the smart-about-science cartoon was prescient about space travel.
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Legendary television producer Mark Burnett is teaming up with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic for a new reality show where ordinary Americans compete to fly into space. On NBC's upcoming Space Race, which still doesn't have air or film dates, the winner's grand prize will be a trip into space courtesy of Virgin.
George Whitesides is bullish on a future where space tourism is a fact of life. The CEO of Virgin Galactic and the son of a legendary scientist, Whitesides helms a company whose business plan centers on short trips into space at $250,000 a pop. At a recent presentation at TEDxWallStreet, Whitesides was selling a crowd--many of whom can afford (or have bosses who can afford) to pay the ticket fee for short suborbital space flights--on the virtues of traveling into space. It was an easy sell: the audience was full of science aficionados and thrill junkies who raised their hands eagerly when asked if they'd like to go into space. Virgin Galactic's mission is to make space tourism affordable and doable, and a reality show is just the sort of advertisement they like.
Burnett's partnership really opens the aperture on allowing different kinds of people to do space travel.
Space Race will prominently feature Spaceport America, a massive civilian spaceport and research aircraft facility in the New Mexican desert. Virgin Galactic will use Spaceport as its headquarters; Whitesides told Fast Company in a telephone interview that the company is still putting the finishing touches on the facility and conducting work on its test-flight program. By the time Virgin Galactic flies tourists into space, Burnett's reality show may be able to start taping.
“Burnett's partnership really opens the aperture on allowing different kinds of people to do space travel,” Whitesides said. “There are some moments that are historic in television, space, and human history. The principle for Space Race is to show space travel for everyday people coming from all walks of life.” Space Race is the second attempt by Burnett to do a space tourism reality show; a similar 2000 program called Destination Mir was shuttered when Mir came down from orbit due to Russian financial difficulties.
When conducting marketing and public relations, Virgin's pitch comes down to one thing: The life-changing effects of seeing Earth from space. “99.999% of people on Earth can't afford to fly into space the way NASA does. We've taken that experience and dropped the price between 100 and 1,000 times,” Whitesides added. “For $250,000, it's an enormous price drop which allows many more people to afford that. Tens of thousands of people can look down from space, have a truly profound experience, and look at the Earth from the black sky.”
Burnett, the television legend responsible for genre-defining reality hits like Survivor, The Apprentice, Shark Tank, and many others, knows what makes compelling viewing. But he is a television producer and Virgin Galactic, even with Richard Branson's pedigree and brand name, is a company working in an expensive and dangerous industry where one instance of equipment failure can cause a financial or public relations meltdown. Virgin Galactic recently delayed its first space flights by six months, causing the $212 million Spaceport America considerable financial difficulties. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield also noted (in comments which Whitesides, a friend of Hadfield, said were taken out of context) that “eventually they'll crash” one of their spacecrafts. Virgin Galactic is currently the biggest name in the small world of space tourism, and this makes publicity all the more challenging.
While NBC's space travel reality show waits to begin taping, more than 650 customers have paid $250,000 apiece to book flights into space on Virgin's SpaceShipTwo, to briefly experience weightlessness and see Earth from a suborbital vehicle.

Quelle: FC

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Update: 8.11.2013 

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NBC to Broadcast Virgin Galactic's First Commercial Space Launch Live

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Frame from SpaceShipTwo Boom Camera during first rocket-powered flight on April 29, 2013.
Credit: Virgin Galactic
View full size image
It's official: Virgin Galactic's commercial spaceflight revolution will be televised. 
Virgin Galactic's owner, British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, has inked a deal with NBC ensuring that the network will air live coverage of the inaugural flight of the company'sprivate SpaceShipTwo rocket ship, as well as other special programs in the run up to the historic first flight. Branson and NBCUniversal unveiled the deal today (Nov. 8).
Virgin Galactic wants to fly passengers on SpaceShipTwo at $250,00 a ticket. Would you go if you could?
Yes! The first rocket-powered test flight proved its mettle. I'd ride.Maybe - I'd like to see a few more powered test flights before I trust SpaceShipTwo with my life.No way - I'm still not risking my life on a commercial spaceship.
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Branson and his two children, Sam and Holly, will be the first passengers on SpaceShipTwo, which is designed to fly six passengers and two pilots on trips into suborbital space and back for $250,000 a piece. The spacecraft launches from the air after being dropped by its mothership, the huge carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo. [Photos: 1st SpaceShipTwo Powered Flight Test]
Virgin Galactic and SpaceShipTwo builders Scaled Composites have been putting the spacecraft through a series of supersonic flight tests this year leading up to the first space launch. The first commercial flight is currently expected to take place in 2014 from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
"Virgin Galactic is thrilled that NBCUniversal will join us on our exciting first journey to space," Branson said in a statement today. "In this first chapter of commercial space travel, we will help make space accessible and inspire countless more people to join us in the pursuit of space exploration and science innovation."
NBC will air a primetime special the night before the flight and a three-hour live event on the "TODAY" show during the flight of the new commercial space plane, NBC representatives said.
"Without a doubt, Sir Richard and his children taking the first commercial flight into space, will go down in history as one of the most memorable events on television," said Sharon Scott, president and general manager of Peacock Productions, said in a statement.
"Through NBCUniversal’s multiple platforms and overseas network partners, viewers from around the world will get to experience this where were you moment; we’re extremely honored to chronicle Sir Richard’s journey and live launch into space," Scott added.
SpaceShipTwo will launch from an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) into the air by its White Knight Two. After its release, the suborbital space plane's rocket engine fires for 70 seconds and then shuts down, allowing the plane to coast higher and higher. The spaceship will then reach a peak altitude of 361,000 feet (110,000 m) where the passengers will experience about five minutes of weightlessness.
About 640 would-be space tourists have bought tickets for a SpaceShipTwo rocket ride, including many celebrities.
Lady Gaga plans to fly in space on a Virgin Galactic flight, and announced this week that she will sing on the trip, too. Other stars with SpaceShipTwo tickets include actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Beiber and Ashton Kutcher.
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Quelle: SpaceCom

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"TODAY" to Broadcast Virgin Galactic’s Historic First Commercial Spaceflight LIVE Featuring Sir Richard Branson and His Children

 

NEW YORK, NY—November 8, 2013 — NBCUniversal today announced an exclusive multi-platform partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, to televise the inaugural commercial space flight of SpaceShipTwo. Next year, Sir Richard and his children, Holly and Sam, will be the first private passengers to travel into space on SpaceShipTwo from Virgin Galactic’s terminal at Spaceport America in New Mexico. NBC News’ award-winning Peacock Productions will chronicle the journey across a myriad of NBCUniversal brands and platforms including MSNBC, CNBC, SYFY, The Weather Channel and NBCNews.com, culminating in a primetime special airing on NBC the night before launch, and a 3-hour live event on “TODAY,” hosted by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie.

 

“Without a doubt, Sir Richard and his children taking the first commercial flight into space will go down in history as one of the most memorable events on television,” said Sharon Scott, President and General Manager, Peacock Productions. “Through NBCUniversal’s multiple platforms and overseas network partners, viewers from around the world will get to experience this where were you moment; we’re extremely honored to chronicle Sir Richard’s journey and live launch into space.”

 

“Virgin Galactic is thrilled that NBCUniversal will join us on our exciting first journey to space,” said Sir Richard. “In this first chapter of commercial space travel, we will help make space accessible and inspire countless more people to join us in the pursuit of space exploration and science innovation.”

 

About Peacock Productions

 

Peacock Productions is an award-winning, nonfiction production company that combines the editorial expertise, technical resources and seasoned production talent of NBCUniversal. It offers a wide-range of programming to broadcast, cable and digital entities with worldwide reach. To learn more, please visit peacockproductions.tv.

 

About Virgin Galactic

 

Owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and aabar Investments PJS, Virgin Galactic is on track to be the world’s first commercial spaceline. To date, the company has accepted nearly $80 million in deposits from approximately 640 individuals, which is approximately 10% more than the total number of people who have ever gone to space. The new spaceship (SpaceShipTwo, VSS Enterprise) and carrier craft (WhiteKnightTwo, VMS Eve) have both been developed for Virgin Galactic’s vehicle fleet by Mojave-based Scaled Composites. Founded by Burt Rutan, Scaled developed SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize as the world’s first privately developed manned spacecraft. Virgin Galactic’s new vehicles, which will be manufactured by The Spaceship Company in Mojave, Calif., share much of the same basic design, but are being built to carry six customers, or the equivalent scientific research payload, on suborbital space flights. The vehicles will allow an out-of-the-seat, zero-gravity experience with astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space for tourist astronauts and a unique microgravity platform for researchers. The VSS Enterprise and VMS Eve test flight program is well under way, leading to Virgin Galactic commercial operations, which will be based at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
Quelle: Virgin

 

 

 

 


2947 Views

Freitag, 8. November 2013 - 12:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Expedition: auf der Suche nach Meteoriten in Angra dos Reis

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Am kommenden Wochenende werden brasilianische Fortscher, Geologie- und Astronomiestudenten auf Expedition gehen, um in Angra dos Reis  an der Küste Costa Verde (Rio de Janeiro) Stücke eines der seltensten und wertvollsten Meteoriten der Welt zu finden, der vor 150 Jahren ins Meer stürzte. Die Expedition ist Teil des Vierten internationalen Treffens über Meteoriten und Vulkane 2013 (4° Encontro Internacional de Meteoritos e Vulcões 2013), das gestern (07.11.) am Institut für Geologie an der Universität von Rio de Janeiro UFRJ begonnen hat und bis zum Sonntag stattfindet.
Zwei Steine seien bereits entdeckt worden, nun suche man das fehlende dritte Stück (außer einzelner Fragmente). Die Geologin Elizabeth Zucolotto erklärte, dass der Meteorit fast so alt wie das Sonnensystem sei, 4,56 Milliarden Jahre. Damit wäre er so einzigartig, dass man mit dem Fund herausfinden könnte, wie das Sonnensystem so schnell entstanden ist. Je mehr Material gefunden werden kann, desto besser wäre das für die Studien.
Das eine der entdeckten Stücke (70 g) wurde an das Nationalmuseum gespendet und das andere (6 kg), was mehr als eine Million US-Dollar wert war, ist verschwunden. Außerdem sei das gespendete Stück 1997 gestohlen worden, um an die USA verkauft zu werden. Glücklicherweise konnte diese Transaktion noch vorher gestoppt werden.
In Brasilien gibt es 62 durch Wissenschaftler anerkannte Meteoriten, eine relativ niedrige Zahl verglichen mit den USA. Ein Problem sei, dass viele Meteoriten gar nicht erkannt werden. Im Land fehle es an zuständigen Instituten für die Erkennung der Meteoriten, so Zucolotto. Für die offizielle Anerkennung sei die Bewertung und Genehmigung des Nominierungsausschusses NomCom nötig und das Ergebnis müsse anschließend im Anzeiger Meteoritical Bulletin veröffentlicht werden. Darüber hinaus sei eine Probe von mindestens 20 g bei einem beglaubigten Museum notwendig und 30 g müssten zur Forschung in die Labore gehen.
Quelle: BRASIL NEWS
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Es ist ein Stein von etwa 1,5 kg, der am 30. Januar 1869 fiel, vor der Kirche von Bonfim, in Praia Grande, Angra dos Reis / RJ. Der Fall wurde von Joaquim Carlos Travassos und zwei seiner Sklaven gesehen, die zwei Fragmente etwa zwei Meter tief, von denen einer mit dem Nationalmuseum übergeben wurde gefunden.
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Quelle: METEORITOS BRASILEIROS

3446 Views

Freitag, 8. November 2013 - 10:45 Uhr

Astronomie - Mondkrater neu bewertet

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Maps from the GRAIL spacecrafts reveal more large craters (big circles) and thinner crust (blue) on the moon's nearside (left) than on the farside (right), where the crust is thicker (red).

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Large craters cover more of the moon’s surface on its nearside than its farside, according to new maps from NASA’s GRAIL spacecrafts.
Scientists haven’t always agreed on the size of lunar craters because lava filled many of the biggest impact basins on the side of the moon that faces Earth. For nine months in 2012, astronomers used GRAIL to map the thickness of the crust in and around the craters. Based on the data and simulations of lunar impacts, the hotter nearside of the moon would have formed craters with up to twice the diameter compared with similar impacts on the cooler farside.
The GRAIL data also suggest that astronomers should not use measurements of the basins on the nearside of the moon to draw conclusions about the rate at which craters struck the planets of the inner solar system 4 billion years ago, the researchers report November 8 in Science.
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Abstract:
Maps of crustal thickness derived from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission revealed more large impact basins on the nearside hemisphere of the Moon than on its farside. The enrichment in heat-producing elements and prolonged volcanic activity on the lunar nearside hemisphere indicate that the temperature of the nearside crust and upper mantle was hotter than that of the farside at the time of basin formation. Using the iSALE-2D hydrocode to model impact basin formation, we found that impacts on the hotter nearside would have formed basins with up to twice the diameter of similar impacts on the cooler farside hemisphere. The size distribution of lunar impact basins is thus not representative of the earliest inner solar system impact bombardment.
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Quelle: ScienceNews
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Gravity maps reveal why the dark side of the Moon is covered in craters

Heat differences meant impacts left larger, shallower basins on the lunar surface that faces Earth.

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Harder and softer landing
These simulations show that the crash of an asteroid onto the surface on the young Moon would have created a larger crater in a region where the crust's temperature is heightened by radioactivity (right) than it would in a region at normal temperature (left).
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When the Soviet probe Luna 3 sent back the first shots of the dark side of the Moon, they showed that it was noticeably more pockmarked by craters than the near side. The nearside crust, by contrast, had more large, shallow basins. More than 50 years after those images first baffled researchers, a study published today in Science1 explains the observations.
Some theories suggest that the large basins on the near side were caused by impacts from asteroids bigger than those that caused the craters on the far side. But the latest study suggests that the observed basins do not accurately reflect the size of the initial impact, because as asteroids battered the lunar surface in the early history of the Solar System, the Moon's warmer and softer nearside crust melted like butter, producing giant lava flows that filled the impact craters and transformed them into basins.
To improve on previous estimates of the size and distribution of basins, the team behind the study used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission (GRAIL), two satellites that since 2011 have been orbiting the Moon and mapping subtle variations in the strength of its gravitational field. Basins are characterized by thinner crust, says first author Katarina Miljković, a planetary scientist at the Paris Institute of Earth Physics. The team used GRAIL's gravity maps2 to find such thin crust and measure the true size of the basins.
“We didn’t have to look at topography nearly at all, just at the crust thickness,” says Miljković. The researchers found that although both sides of the Moon had the same total number of impact craters, the near side had eight basins larger than 320 kilometres in diameter, whereas the far side had only one.
Hot hit
The asteroid bombardment should have battered both sides equally, Miljković points out. The asymmetry could have arisen from comparatively small objects punching above their weight on the near side, producing basins more easily than on the far side.
Simulations showed that if the largest dark area on the near side — the plain of volcanic rock known as Oceanus Procellarum — was hundreds of degrees hotter than crust on the far side, impacts there would produce basins up to twice as large as impacts from similar-sized bodies on the far side (see video above).
And indeed, around 4 billion years ago, or 500 million years after the Moon formed, the near side could have been warmer than the far side. Researchers looking at the near side have detected the presence of radioactive isotopes; their decay would have heated up the rock, explains study co-author Maria Zuber, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and principal investigator of GRAIL.
The findings fit well with the observations, but “there is no consensus” as to what caused the startling asymmetry in isotope content between the near side and the far side, says Jeffrey Taylor, a lunar scientist at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. One leading theory posits that material rich in radioactive elements rose in a gigantic volcanic plume and formed a magma basin; another that it came from a collision with a sister moon around 1,000 kilometres in diameter.
William Bottke, a lunar scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, says that the work could lead researchers to revise just how dramatic asteroid bombardments were in the early Solar System. "This can be used to more accurately derive what the small-body populations were like four billion years ago.”
Quelle: Nature

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Freitag, 8. November 2013 - 10:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von ISRO´s MARS Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C25 (PSLV-C25)

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7.07.2013

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is bracing to launch its first Mars mission to become the first Asian country to accomplish it. Photo: NASA

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Preparations are afoot for the upcoming “big-bang” Mars Orbiter Mission in October-November, an ambitious venture that would shed light on the possible existence of life on the planet besides boosting space agency ISRO’s brand equity.

The satellite, which would be launched on board Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL), will carry compact science experiments, totalling a mass of 15 kg, according to ISRO officials. There will be five instruments to study Martian surface, atmosphere and mineralogy.

Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP) is aimed at studying the escape processes of Mars upper atmosphere through Deuterium/Hydrogen, Methane Sensor for MARS (MSM) would look to detect presence of Methane while Martian Exospheric Composition Explorer (MENCA) would study the neutral composition of the Martian upper atmosphere.

MARS Colour Camera (MCC) would undertake optical imaging and TIR imaging spectrometer (TIS) is targetted to map surface composition and mineralogy.

“Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft integration is under progress”, an ISRO official told PTI here today. “The spacecraft has to undergo qualification tests for proving space worthiness once the integration is completed”.

The mission would help ISRO understand the technological challenges of such an exploration, the possible existence of life and future colonisation of Mars, which is the nearest planet which has most resemblance to earth. This would be India’s first mission to a distant planet.

ISRO will launch the mission in October-November. “If launched within the launch window (October 21-November 19, 2013), the spacecraft will travel for least distance to reach Mars”, the official said.

This is the immediate next available opportunity for such a mission as Earth and Mars would be coming closer then.

The PSLV-XL (PSLV-C25) will inject the spacecraft from the spaceport of Sriharikota in the 250 X 23000 km orbit.

After leaving earth orbit in November, MOM spacecraft will cruise in deep space for 10 months using its own propulsion system and will reach Mars (Martian transfer trajectory) in September 2014.

The 1350 kg spacecraft subsequently is planned to enter into a 372 km by 80,000 km elliptical orbit around Mars.

“The primary objective of this challenging mission is to establish the Indian technological capabilities to reach the orbit of Mars”, says ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan, also Secretary in the Department of Space. “A number of technological challenges need to be negotiated for a successful Mars mission“.

Critical mission operations and stringent requirements on propulsion, communications and other bus systems of the spacecraft are sure to keep the Bangalore-headquarterd ISRO on tenterhooks.

“One of the technological challenges is to realise related deep space mission planning and communication management at a distance of nearly 400 million km”, an ISRO official said.

The spacecraft has been provided with augmented radiation shielding for its prolonged exposure in the Van Allen belt. Due to the long range of the order of 55-400 million km from Earth to Mars, there is a communication delay of 20 minutes one way itself. For this reason, ISRO has built high level of onboard autonomy within Mars orbiter. For Chandrayaan-1, ISRO had to deal with only four lakh kms.

The robustness and reliability of propulsion system is “one order higher” as after leaving the orbit of Earth the system would require to work after almost 300 days. And during this voyage, the system needs to maintain complete integrity so as to capture the Martian orbit.

Capture of the Mars orbit or the Martian insertion is the critical event that would determine the success of this mission, ISRO officials say.

Besides the Mars Orbiter, ISRO has also planned a series of launches of various satellites both from the country and Kourou, French Guiana, during the current financial year.

India’s communication satellite INSAT-3D is slated to be launch onboard Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana by the end of this month while the European spaceport would also launch the GSAT-7 during the year.

GSAT-14 would be launched on board GSLV on August 6 to be followed by SPOT-7, earth observation satellite, which would be put in space by a PSLV in December this year, ISRO has said.

The Indian space agency also planned to undertake GSLV Mark III experimental mission in January next year and launch the country’s second navigation satellite IRNSS-1D in March.

IRNSS-1A, the first in the series of seven navigation satellites under the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), was launched onboard PSLV C22 from Sriharikota on July 2.

Quelle: The Hindu

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Update: 7.09.2013

Indien startet nächste Woche offiziell die ISRO-Mars-Mission

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will unveil the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on Wednesday, kick-starting its much-anticipated mission to Mars. 

Mom is scheduled to be launched during October 21-November 19 using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C25 (PSLV-C25) and will carry five payloads.

An official note issued here on Friday said: “The spacecraft, with all the payloads, has completed the Thermo-Vacuum Test that extensively tests the spacecraft under simulated environment space. At the same time, PSLV-C25 launch campaign has also commenced at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota and the first stage with the strap-ons has been assembled.”

The launcher is likely to be ready for integration by October 10. After leaving the earth’s orbit in November, the spacecraft will cruise in space for about 10 months before finally entering the Red Planet’s orbit.


The spacecraft will be placed in an elliptical orbit, the nearest point of which from Mars' surface will be 500 km and the farthest point will be 80,000 km.

The 1,350-kg spacecraft will carry five instruments/payloads totalling a mass of 15-kg selected by the Advisory Committee for Space Sciences (ADCOS), to study the Martian surface, atmosphere and mineralogy.

Checking for methane, mapping the Martian surface and sending data from the optical imaging payload are among the important activities of the mission.

Quelle:DECCAN HERALD

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Quelle: ISRO      

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Update: 10.09.2013

ISRO's Mars satellite clears key launch test

BANGALORE: India's launch preparations for the ambitious Rs 450 crore Mars orbiter mission achieved a major milestone with the successful thermo-vacuum test of the spacecraft with its payloads (scientific instruments).

 

It extensively tested the spacecraft under simulated space environment. The spacecraft would now undergo vibration and acoustic tests before being transported from here by month-end to the spaceport of Sriharikota, where the launch campaign has already commenced. 

 

The spacecraft is slated to be launched by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) during October 21-November 19. 

 

The first stage of PSLV-C25 with strap-ons has already been assembled, with the rocket ready for satellite integration by October ten, officials of Indian Space Research Organisation said. 

 

ISRO said the primary objectives of the mission are to demonstrate India's technological capability to send a satellite to orbit around Mars and conduct meaningful experiments such as looking for signs of life, take pictures of the red planet and study Martian environment. 

 

The satellite will carry compact science experiments, totalling a mass of 15 kg. There will be five instruments to study Martian surface, atmosphere and mineralogy. 

 

After leaving earth orbit in November, the spacecraft will cruise in deep space for 10 months using its own propulsion system and will reach Mars ( Martian transfer trajectory) in September 2014. 

 

The 1350 kg spacecraft subsequently is planned to enter into a 372 km by 80,000 km elliptical orbit around Mars. 

 

"We want to look at environment of Mars for various elements like Deuterium-Hydrogen ratio. We also want to look at other constituents - neutral constituents", ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan told PTI recently. 

 

"There are several things which Mars will tells us, this is what the scientific community thinks about the life on Mars", he had said. 

 

"Our (Mars mission) experiments are planned in such a way that you can decide when you want to put on each of these systems," Radhakrishnan had said. 

 

"If we succeed (in the mission), it positions India into group of countries who will have the ability to look at Mars. In future, certainly, there will be synergy between various countries in such exploration. That's taking place. That time India will be a country to be counted", he said.
Quelle: The Economic Times

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Update: 12.09.2013

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Scientists working with the Mars Orbiter Mission Space craft which was unveiled at ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) in Bangalore on Wednesday.

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India's upcoming Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) seeks to reveal whether there is methane, considered a "precursor chemical" for life, on the Red Planet, key officials behind the ambitious venture said on Wednesday.
A Methane Sensor, one of the five payloads (scientific instruments) onboard the spacecraft, would look to detect the presence of the gas, MOM Project Director Arunan S said.
He said the sensor was aimed at understanding whether life existed on Mars or if it would have life in future.
"Methane is fundamentally base [sic] for life on any planet," he said.
M Annadurai, Programme Director, IRS & SSS (Indian Remote Sensing & Small, Science and Student Satellites), said: "Most probably we will be able to answer whether there is presence of Methane. If it's there, yes; if it's not, not there. If it's available, where it's available".
After a media preview of the Mars orbiter at ISRO Satellite Centre here, where it is being given final shape, officials of the space agency indicated that the aim is to launch the mission on October 21, weather permitting.
The launch window is from October 21 to November 19.
MOM is a Rs 450 crore mission -- Rs110 crore for building PSLV-C25 that would launch the Rs150 crore spacecraft, with the remaining amount spent on augmenting ground segment, including those required for deep space communication.
Once launched from the spaceport of Sriharikota, the spacecraft would go around the earth for 20-25 days before embarking on a 9-month voyage to Mars. The minimum life of the spacecraft around Mars is six months but it would certainly outlive it, as similar satellites orbited by other countries have sometimes lasted six-seven years, Arunan said
 
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Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Wednesday unveiled its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, which is scheduled to be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota between October 21 and November 19. The `450 crore MOM, as it has been officially named by Isro, will be the space agency’s first interplanetary mission, and it will be launched by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL).
Scientists and engineers at the Isro Satellite Centre, where the spacecraft has been built, said the MOM is the most challenging space mission ever undertaken by India so far. Apart from the fact that it will take about nine months for the space craft to reach the Red Planet after leaving the Earth’s orbit (if the satellite leaves the earth orbit in November 2013, it will reach Mars in September 2014), the scientists and engineers will have the arduous task to realise related deep space mission planning and communication management at a distance of nearly 400 million km.
“This mission is totally different from the earlier ones undertaken by Isro, including the Chandrayaan-1. With the earlier satellites, we received the data within few seconds. In case of the Chandrayaan-1, it was within two or three seconds. But here, to have a to and fro communication between the spacecraft and the earth stations, it will take nearly 40 minutes. If something happened to the Orbiter, it would take us 40 minutes to react,” said M Annadurai, programme director, IRS & SSS (Indian Remote Sensing & Small, Science and Student Satellites).
 
However, KS Shivkumar, director of Isro Satellite Centre, said the project team has undertaken all contingency measures to ensure that the spacecraft can take decisions on its own in case of an unprecedented eventuality. A full scale autonomy has been built into the spacecraft, which would take decisions on its own and put it on safe mode without any ground interventions, he said.
Detecting the presence of methane 
Arunan S, project director of MOM, said the satellite with five payloads onboard will carry compact science experiments. The five payloads are Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for MARS (MSM), Martian Exospheric Composition Explorer (MENCA), MARS Colour Camera (MCC and TIR imaging spectrometer (TIS).
MOM seeks to reveal whether there is methane, considered a “precursor chemical” for life, on the Red Planet, key officials behind the ambitious venture said on Wednesday.
Quelle: dna

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Update: 22.09.2013

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Scientists of Mars Orbiter Mission working on the spacecraft, at ISAC. Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy

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India’s Mars Orbiter Mission is slated to be launched on October 28 after a national committee of experts gave the go ahead for the Rs 450 crore ambitious venture after threadbare deliberations.

The committee held deliberations over two days on Thursday and Friday last and reviewed the status after senior Indian Space Research Organisation scientists gave an in-depth presentation on the mission.

Primary objectives of the mission are to demonstrate India’s technological capability to send a satellite to orbit around Mars and conduct meaningful experiments such as looking for signs of life, take pictures of the red planet and study Martian environment.

“The committee has given the go ahead”, an ISRO official said here today.

Former ISRO Chairman U.R Rao, noted space expert Roddam Narasimha and Professors of Indian Institute of Science Bangalore were among those part of the eminent panel.

The October 21-November 19 launch window has now been pushed forward by a week, and it now starts on October 28 though final date of the window remains the same (Nov19).

“We would like to utilise the first available opportunity”, the official said, adding, the launch can be expected on the afternoon of October 28, weather permitting.

The Rs 150-crore Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft is currently undergoing vibration and acoustic tests at ISRO Satellite Integration and Testing Establishment here, and is slated for shipment from here on September 30 to the Sriharikota spaceport after a pre-shipment committee review on September 26.

Launch campaign has already commenced in Sriharikota spaceport from where the 1,350-kg MOM spacecraft is slated to be launched by the Rs 110 crore Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25).

The first stage of the PSLV-C25 with strap-ons has already been assembled, with the rocket ready for satellite integration by October 10.

The satellite will carry compact science experiments, totalling a mass of 15 kg. There will be five instruments to study Martian surface, atmosphere and mineralogy.

After leaving the earth’s orbit, the spacecraft will cruise in deep space for about ten months using its own propulsion system and will reach Martian transfer trajectory in September 2014.

The spacecraft subsequently is planned to enter into a 372 km by 80,000 km elliptical orbit around Mars.

The main theme of MOM appears to be to seek to reveal whether there is methane, considered a “precursor chemical” for life, on the red planet.

Methane sensor, one of the five payloads (scientific instruments) on board the spacecraft, would look to detect the presence of Methane.

Quelle: BL

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Update: 23.09.2013

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Nasa's Mars findings pose questions for Isro mission
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Nasa’s Mars rover, Curiosity, coming up empty-handed in its search for methane in the planet’s atmosphere, is likely to throw a wet blanket on India’s forthcoming mission to the Red Planet.
The revelation is likely to affect Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro’s) Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), as one of the primary objective of the Rs450 crore venture is to detect the presence of methane, a gas that on Earth is a strong indicator of life, in the Martian atmosphere. A methane sensor for Mars is among the five scientific instruments onboard the MOM spacecraft.
Curiosity landed on Mars in August 2012 to determine whether the planet, which is the closest to Earth in terms of its atmospheric conditions, has or ever had the chemistry and conditions to support microbial life. According to Nasa, the roving laboratory performed extensive tests to search for traces of Martian methane.
The rover analysed Martian atmospheric samples for methane six times from October 2012 to June this year, but in vain. Data retrieved from Curiosity pointing to the inexistence of methane has given rise to concerns about the fate of Isro’s MOM, scheduled to be launched from Sriharikota.
Quelle: dna
 

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Update: 2.10.2013 

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Countdown to launch of Mars orbiter begins today
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On Wednesday, India’s orbiter to Mars will begin its journey from Isro’s Satellite Centre (ISAC) in Bengaluru to the launch pad at Sriharikota range, precisely five years to the day that Chandrayaan-I commenced a similar trip to the spaceport, marking the first step of the space scientists’ tryst with the red planet.
The 1,340-kg orbiter, set for launch by a modified, powerful version of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on October 28, has been given the thumbs-up by experts after a slew of tests, Isro chairman K. Radhakrishnan told this news in an exclusive interview. It will be propelled into space in such a manner that the spacecraft saves sufficient fuel for its 300-day cruise to Martian environment even as space scientists check out five instruments onboard — two to support atmospheric studies, two for surface imaging studies, and one for environmental studies beginning September 2014. Two ships of the Shipping Corporation of India and DRDO, positioned in Pacific Ocean, would track the orbiter during the initials hours of the orbiter’s entry into space, he added.
With communication signals likely to take 20 minutes to the orbiter and vice-versa, Indian space scientists have built-in systems which allow the orbiter to take decisions on its own when plagued by glitches. “It is for the first time that we have built full-scale autonomy on the spacecraft,” he said.
Quelle: ISRO

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Update: 3.10.2013

At the crack of dawn on Wednesday, the Mars orbiter spacecraft ceremoniously rolled out of its nest here and took the first baby step of its 400-million-km journey. But before its grand voyage, it is first headed for the Sriharikota launch centre in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Amidst chants of prayer and loads of good wishes and in the presence of large gathering of scientists, ISRO Satellite Centre Director S.K. Shivakumar flagged off the mother of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s ventures — the Mars Orbiter Mission or MOM — at 6 a.m from the second advanced satellite integration and testing campus, ISITE, at Marathahalli.

The spacecraft, sent by road in a safe cocoon, will reach the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on Thursday afternoon and undergo further tests and checks until its launch, ISRO spokesman Deviprasad Karnik told The Hindu.

‘Satisfying day’

“It has been one satisfying day for our team,” said Mars project director S.Arunan, describing the mission’s kick-off from Bangalore. “We achieved it in a short time [after the project was approved in September 2012] within a tight deadline. Today, all those sleepless months did not matter.”

MOM, carrying five ISRO instruments, is a Rs. 450-crore Indian space dream that is devised to study the atmosphere, surface and chemicals of Mars, just 372 km from the red planet’s surface.

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan earlier said the scientists aimed to launch the spacecraft from Sriharikota around 4.30 p.m. on October 28. After days of complex manoeuvring, the spacecraft is slated to be slung off Earth’s orbit on November 30 and it will begin its 300-day journey to Mars. It is expected to reach the Martian zone in mid-September 2014 and orbit it for at least six months.

Mars missions become possible once in 26 months based on the positions of Earth and Mars. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the U.S. is also sending its MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) mission on November 18.

In Bangalore, the spacecraft cleared the mechanical solar panel and antenna movements and vibration and acoustic tests, Mr. Karnik said. On reaching Sriharikota, it would go through electrical and other checks. A week ahead of the launch, it would be sent away for being fitted into the launch vehicle. The launcher, PSLV-C25, is an extended XL version, currently being readied for the mission.

As the mission unfolds, Mr. Arunan’s team is bracing itself for many more sleepless nights and nail-biting moments.

Quelle: The Hindu

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Mars spacecraft shipped out of Bangalore for Oct 28 launch from Sriharikota

India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft was shipped out of Bangalore on Wednesday for the October 28 launch from the Sriharikota spaceport, setting the stage for final preparations for the odyssey to the red planet. "It was put in a special container where we have the monitoring of the environment inside", an official of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told PTI. Accompanied by a convoy, the truck-trailer carrying the container is currently on its way by road Sriharikota, where it's slated to reach on Thursday afternoon. Gandhi Jayanti day was chosen for the journey as traffic would be less.
A national committee of experts and pre-shipment review panel had earlier given their go-ahead for the Rs 450 crore ambitious venture. Primary objectives of the mission are to demonstrate India s technological capability to send a satellite to orbit around Mars and conduct meaningful experiments such as looking for signs of life, take pictures of the red planet and study Martian environment. Bangalore-based ISRO said the Rs 150-crore spacecraft would be launched on October 28 at 16 hours, 14 minutes and 45 seconds (4.15 pm), weather permitting. Launch campaign has already commenced at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, about 90 km from Chennai, from where the 1,350-kg MOM spacecraft is slated to be launched by the Rs 110 crore Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25). The first stage of the PSLV-C25 with strap-ons has already been assembled, with the rocket ready for satellite integration by October 10. The satellite will carry compact science experiment instruments, totalling a mass of 15 kg. There will be five instruments to study Martian surface, atmosphere and mineralogy. After leaving the earth's orbit, the spacecraft will cruise in deep space for about ten months using its own propulsion system and will reach Martian transfer trajectory in September 2014. The spacecraft subsequently is planned to enter into a 372 km by 80,000 km elliptical orbit around Mars. The main theme of MOM appears to be to seek to reveal whether there is methane, considered a precursor chemical for life, on the red planet. Methane sensor, one of the five payloads (scientific instruments) on board the spacecraft, would look to detect the presence of Methane.
Quelle: IBN
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Update: 5.10.2013
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US govt shutdown may force Isro to delay October 28 Mars mission launch by 2 years

BANGALORE: While the US government shutdown has inconvenienced millions of Americans, it's also worrying Isro scientists working on India's ambitious space programme to Mars.

The Rs 450 crore Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), scheduled for lift-off at 4.15pm on October 28, could be without Nasa's communication and navigation support. US space agency Nasa has asked 97% of its 18,000-strong workforce to go on unpaid leave. This has left many of its stations worldwide unmanned. The Isro mission is banking on such stations to track the spacecraft.

If the programme misses the October 28-November 19 launch window, India may have to ground the mission for at least two years.

Nasa had agreed to provide reimbursable communication and navigation support to Indian Space Research Organisation for MOM during the launch and post-launch phases when the spacecraft is out of coverage area of its navigation system.

Nasa was to help in accurate determination/ reconfirmation of orbit and position of spacecraft. "Nasa is currently closed due to a lapse in government funding. I am in furlough status; therefore, I am unable to respond to your message at this time," was the auto-reply from Nasa spokesperson to TOI's queries on this matter. Last month, he had told TOI about Nasa support to MOM.

An Isro spokesperson said: "It is too early to comment about this." Nasa support will cost Isro about Rs 70 crore.

Sources in Isro explained that the launch window is crucial as Mars and Earth will not be in positions suitable for such a programme till the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016. Prof UR Rao, chairman of the national committee of experts which cleared the project, declined to comment, saying it's a "political" matter.

But he said: "The launch window is important. We're trying to launch the spacecraft in the beginning of the window. If not November 19, we have time till early December. But once that is lost, we'll have to wait for two years."

He said traditionally, Isro avoids launching from Sriharikota during October and November. "It is generally avoided as it is cyclone season. But given the fact that such an opportunity will not be available for years if missed, we scheduled the launch and are hoping that weather does not play spoilsport."

The spacecraft which left Bangalore on Wednesday, reached launch site Sriharikota on Thursday evening. With components of the launch vehicle PSLV C 25 already at the launch site, integration of the spacecraft will begin on October 10.

Quelle: The Times of India

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Update: 7.10.2013 
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NASA Reaffirms Support for Mars Orbiter Mission
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India's Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft is scheduled for launch on the afternoon of October 28, 2013. The launch window remains open till November 19, 2013. The American NASA/JPL is providing communications and navigation support to this mission with their Deep Space Network facilities. According to Scientific Secretary, ISRO, NASA/JPL authorities have reaffirmed support for the Mars Orbiter Mission as planned and stated that the current US government partial shutdown will not affect the schedule of Mars Orbiter Mission.
Quelle: ISRO
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Update: 17.10.2013

ISRO to finalise launch of Mars Orbiter Mission

The primary objectives of the Mars mission are to demonstrate India’s technological capability to send a satellite to orbit around the planet
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Chennai: Preparations are afoot in Sriharikota for the launch of Mars Orbiter Mission Mangalyaan on PSLV C25, ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan said.
“The exact date and time of the launch will be decided in a meeting on Thursday. So by Friday, we will get to know the exact time and date of the launch,” he told reporters in Chennai.
On the launch of the GSLV D5, which was called off on 19 August after detection of a fuel leak, he said, “We are working on the GSLV for its launch in December.”
ISRO had stopped the countdown 74 minutes ahead of the scheduled launch at 1650 hours after noticing the leakage.
Once launched, Mars Orbiter Mission would go around the Earth for 20-25 days before embarking on a nine month voyage to the red planet.
The primary objectives of the Mars mission are to demonstrate India’s technological capability to send a satellite to orbit around the planet and conduct meaningful experiments such as looking for signs of life, take pictures of Mars and study the Martian environment.
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Quelle: HINDUSTAN TIMES
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Update: 18.10.2013
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India's Mars mission ready, but cyclone in the Pacific a worry, says ISRO

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New Delhi: First the good news. India's satellite for its maiden mission to Mars, the Mangalyaan and its rocket launch vehicle, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), are fully tested and ready.

But the bad news is that a cyclone lashing through the Pacific Ocean could slow things down. A final decision on whether the launch can take place on October 28 as per plan will be made only on Saturday when the final review is over.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said this as it conducted its final mission readiness review for Mangalyaan. The unmanned scientific satellite mission has cost India Rs. 450 crore.

 
For the first time India is deploying two special ships hired from the Shipping Corporation of India - the Nalanda and the Yamuna will monitor the health and movement of India's rocket several minutes after the launch while it is coasting in the sky over the Pacific Ocean. This is a special requirement for the Mars mission.

According to ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan, the movement of Indian ships in the Pacific has been slowed down due to bad weather conditions. In a few days, the picture would be clearer.

The Mangalyaan satellite was today fully fuelled and the spacecraft is now being mated to its rocket at Sriharikota. Both the machines, according to Mr Radhakrishnan, are in a state of readiness to meet the first launch window.

This time of the year is always a worry for ISRO as the weather at Sriharikota is influenced by the cyclone season in the Bay of Bengal.

For the first time, the ISRO is worried about weather in far- away Pacific Ocean to arrive at an opportune launch window for India's first inter-planetary mission.
Quelle: NDTV

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Update: 20.10.2013

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India's Mars mission delayed by a week

 

Chennai, India's Mars Orbiter Mission, scheduled for launch Oct 28, has been delayed and the fresh date will be announced later, said the space agency chief.

"Of the two ships Nalanda and Yamuna, only Yamanua has reached Fiji. Nalanda has not reached there. It is expected to reach Fiji only around Oct 21. So the Mars mission will not happen Oct 28. As the launch window is between Oct 28-Nov 19, we will decide on the revised date after the ship reaches Fiji," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K.Radhakrishnan told IANS.

He said the delay will be by a week and by Oct 22, the launch date is expected to be known.

The ship has terminals to track the rocket, which has a coasting period of around 20 minutes beyond the visibility of existing ground stations.

Radhakrishnan said the rocket has been assembled and the satellite integration is on now.

"In two days it will be over and then there will be checks on the rocket and satellite systems," he said.

Quelle: IANS

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India's Mars Orbiter Mission which was slated to be launched on October 28 has been postponed by a week due to bad weather and the new launch date will be decided on October 22.

'Nalanda', the ship which will track the movement of the satellite from the South Pacific Ocean, couldn't reach its designated spot due to bad weather.

Isro spokesperson Deviprasad Karnik said, "Two ships, Yamuna and Nalanda were to reach Fiji the land closest to their designated spots in the Pacific Ocean but Nalanda has been delayed due to bad weather. Our scientists and engineers have reached the island."

He said ships will be used to track the ignition of the fourth stage and separation of the spacecraft. "Unlike previous missions, by the fourth stage ignition the vehicle would have gone outside the range of our ground stations which is why we have to use ships," Karnik said.

Isro leased the ships from the Shipping Corporation of India and equipped them for tracking. The ships left Visakhapatnam in mid-September. Isro has sought Nasa's help to communicate and navigate the satellite when it reaches blind spots of their tracking systems.

Quelle: The Times of India

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Update: 22.10.2013

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Announcement of India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft Launch Date
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The launch of India's first interplanetary probe, Mars Orbiter Spacecraft onboard PSLV-C25 (in its XL version), is scheduled on November 5, 2013 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. The lift-off time is at 14:36 hrs IST.
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Quelle: ISRO

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Update: 29.10.2013 

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Nachfolgende Fotos von PSLV-C25-Spacecraft Integration 

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Spacecraft Movement for Testing

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Spacecraft Testing - View 1

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Spacecraft Testing - View 2



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Loading Spacecraft for Thermovacuum Test in Large Space Simulation Chamber
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Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft is being integrated to the 4th stage of PSLV-C25
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Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft attached to the 4th stage of PSLV-C25 and ready for heat shield closure
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PSLV-C25 with heat shield closed
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Quelle: ISRO
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Update: 30.10.2013
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Bangalore to Mars
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The container truck bearing the Mars orbiter being received at SHAR, Sriharikota.
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THE truck trailer that rolled ever so gently from Bangalore to Sriharikota at a speed of 10 kilometres an hour and covered a distance of 345 kilometres would have fooled any passer-by into thinking that some inconsequential cargo truck was on its way to some port.
The 1,350-kg Mars orbiter carrying five scientific instruments held in a sophisticated container with special contraptions hit the road on the first lap of its journey to Mars on October 2 and reached the spaceport more than 34 hours later. The five payloads, all built by the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Space Application Centre in Ahmedabad, the Laboratory for Electro-Optic Systems (LEOS) in Bangalore and the Space Physics Laboratory in Thiruvananthapuram, were integrated into the spacecraft bus at the ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore.
Deviprasad Karnik, ISRO spokesman, said the spacecraft underwent a battery of tests at a facility at the ISRO Satellite Centre where vacuum conditions in space and the solar radiation that would fall on it were simulated to check the orbiter’s space-worthiness and its performance level under such conditions. The orbiter faced thermal-balancing tests to verify whether the heat falling on the various places in the spacecraft during its 300-day odyssey in space would be within permissible limits. Tests were also done to see whether the orbiter’s “appendages” (its solar panels and high-gain antenna) deployed as predicted. The spacecraft was then ferried to the ISRO Satellite Integration and Test Establishment (ISITE), also in Bangalore, where it was subjected to vibration and acoustic tests.
“After qualifying the spacecraft for its space-worthiness, it was put into a special container, which had a controlled environment and monitoring devices, and transported from Bangalore to Sriharikota,” said Karnik.
The container had a console to monitor the health of the spacecraft by constantly checking the temperature, humidity and vibration levels during transportation. The solar array drive assembly, a critical component of the orbiter, was purged by pumping pure, dry nitrogen gas into it. This took place within the container. The spacecraft was mounted on a platform, which was cushioned to enable it to withstand the effect of vibration during its road journey to Sriharikota. On reaching the spaceport, the orbiter underwent more pre-launch tests. It was filled with fuel on October 15 and married up with the fourth stage of the PSLV-XL on October 20.
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Interview with K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation.
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IN THE RUN-UP TO THE LAUNCH OF THE MARS Orbiter Mission (MOM), which is scheduled from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on November 5, K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), spoke to T.S. Subramanian and R. Ramachandran of Frontline separately and at different times, with the former in October and with the latter in September. Excerpts from the two interviews combined:
T.S. Subramanian: Are things on course for the Mars Orbiter Mission? What kind of preparations have you made for it?
We are ready for the Mars Orbiter Mission. On October 14, we completed the fuelling of the orbiter. Nearly 852 kg of fuel, that is, a combination of mono methyl hydrazine (MMH) and mixed oxides of nitrogen (MON3)—fuel and oxidiser respectively—has already been pumped into the orbiter.
As for the PSLV [Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle], the launch vehicle has been assembled. We had earlier completed the phase 3, level 2 checks, that is, electrical checks, on the entire vehicle. The spacecraft has been mated with the launch vehicle. The launch window for the MOM from SHAR is open up to November 19.
There are two activities: one is the integrated check of the vehicle and the spacecraft together and we call it phase 3, level 3. In this test, all ground stations—SHAR and ISTRAC [ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network]—will take part. We check out all the systems, and after everything is clear we will do the launch rehearsal. The launch rehearsal will be for all the activities of the countdown. We will go through this simulation and after that, we will again have a Mission Readiness Review [MRR] and the Launch Authorisation Board [LAB] meetings to give the authorisation for the launch.
We have one ground station at Byalalu [near Bangalore] as our deep-space ground station, which has been augmented from 2 kilowatt to 20 kw of power. There is a set of operations to be done by ISTRAC once the PSLV injects the orbiter into an elliptical orbit. That elliptical orbit will have an apogee of 23,500 km and a perigee of 250 km. So all the operations to be performed in the subsequent weeks on the orbiter to raise its apogee and for its trans-Mars injection are to be performed by the ISTRAC and then there is a long voyage of 300 days. [During that voyage], there will be at least three mid-course corrections, which means the firing of the small thrusters on board the orbiter. Then, finally, on September 21, 2014, we will have the crucial Mars orbit insertion.
Quelle: Frontline
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MOM Launch Rehearsal at Sriharikota on Oct 31
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Ahead of the launch of its Rs 430 crore Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), India's premier space agency ISRO will tomorrow carry out a launch rehearsal at the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre here.
"We will carry out a launch rehearsal tomorrow at 6.08 AM. Except for pressing the 'ignite' button, all other procedures would be checked and see whether all preparations are in place," PSLV C-25 Mission Director P Kunhikrishnan told reporters here.
PSLV C-25 carrying the Mars Orbiter spacecraft is slated for lift-off at 2.36 PM on November 5.
The launch rehearsal would go through the last eight-and-a-half hour simulation of the 56-and-a-half-hour countdown. Satellite battery check up, withdrawing of mobile service tower and checking various technical parameters, including electrical activities would be part of the launch rehearsal, he said.
The satellite has been already integrated with the launch vehicle, which is ready for launch in the First Launch Pad.
ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan, talking to reporters in Chennai en route here, said the countdown would begin on November 3.
"We are getting ready for the launch of Mars Orbiter spacecraft onboard PSLV-C25. Tomorrow we will be doing the rehearsal of the launch countdown", he said.
"The lift-off is expected in the afternoon of November 5," he said responding to a query.
One of the main objectives the first Indian mission to Mars is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.
Asked about the launch of GSLV-D5 which was called off in August due to a fuel leak, Radhakrishnan said the work on GSLV assembly was proceeding.
"The GSLV assembly is going on at the moment. By December 15, we should have the launch," he said.
Quelle: Outlook-India
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Update: 31.10.2013
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Mars mission dream come true for ISRO


India is set to fly it’s first ever mission to another planet with the Mars mission slated for launch on November 5. The spacecraft named the Mars Orbiter Mission will take about nine months to move from the earth’s orbit to that of Mars and is estimated to reach the Martian orbit in September 2014. It is the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) first quest to find signs of life on Mars and learn some lessons possibly. Across the world, only five other space agencies have been able to send missions to the neighbouring planet — and about half of the 45-odd missions sent up have failed to even reach Mars.

India’s Mars mission carries a `450-crore price tag, way below what Nasa, the European Space Agency, Japan and China spent on their journeys to Mars. ISRO  says indigenisation kept costs down. The decision to use the reliable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) also helped. The mission launch will mark the PSLV’s silver jubilee. The orbiter will ride an advanced variant of the rocket, the PSLV-XL — the rocket type that took India to the moon in 2008. Unlike other Mars missions which had a straight flight trajectory, India’s orbiter will first be placed in an elliptical earth orbit because of the rocket’s weight constraints.If this feat is accomplished it’ll be a giant leap in India’s 50-year-old space programme. Former ISRO chairman Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan describes the Mars mission as part of India’s planetary exploration strategy. So India’s first step to another planet is exciting not just because it’s a first, but because it is one that will keep the scientist community on edge for all of nine months, until the spacecraft actually reaches its spot around Mars. When the Mars rocket takes off next week, it will carry with it not just a spacecraft, but the dreams of thousands of curious scientists looking for answers to some basic questions on our existence.

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Quelle:INDIAN EXPRESS

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Update: 1.11.2013

The excitement is really building toward India's first-ever attempt at an interplanetary spacecraft! Launch day is quickly approaching for the Mars Orbiter Mission. Liftoff is still scheduled for Tuesday, November 5, 2013, at 14:38 IST (09:08 UTC / 01:08 PST). The latest news from the mission is that a launch rehearsal was successfully completed today. Isn't that rocket beautiful:

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ISRO

India's PSLV-C25 prepared to launch the Mars Orbiter Mission
On October 31, 2013, the Mars Orbiter Mission rested atop its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) during a rehearsal of the launch, planned for November 5.
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Isro vehicle director B. Jayakumar speaks to the press along with other officials in front of Mars Orbiter Mission in the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Wednesday.
 
Quelle: ISRO
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Update: 2.11.2013
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Quelle: ISRO
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Update: 5.11.2013
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MOM’s Last Night on Earth; Midnight Marvel for India’s Mars Mission – Live Webcast



It’ s a Mind-Blowing Midnight Marvel !
India’s fueled PSLV rocket and Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) await Nov. 5 blastoff at 14:38 hrs IST (9:08 UTC, 4:08 a.m. EST). Credit: ISRO.
Watch ISRO’s Live Webcast
MOM is spending her last night on Earth – and she’s a Mind-Blowing Midnight Marvel !
Quelle: ISRO
 
 
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Erfolgreicher Start

 
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Frams: Start-Video ISRO
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Quelle: ISRO
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Update: 21.45 MEZ
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Keeping up with tradition, Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan offered prayers to Lord Balaji at Tirupati. A model of the to-be-launched rocket and satellite was placed before the deity and blessings were sought for a successful launch. Mars Orbiter Mission is heading into space today
Quelle: dna
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Quelle: hindustantimes
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PSLV C25 lifts off from its launchpad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Tuesday. During the launch, ISRO chairman Dr K. Radhakrishnan and senior space scientists spent anxious moments at the launchpad control room.
A technician monitors the functions of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) at the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota (File photo). The third state ignition took place seconds later at 265.94 seconds and the third stage separation happened at 583.60 seconds at an altitude of 194.86 km. Thereafter, the crucial 4th stage ignition took place at 2100 seconds at an altitude of 271.317 km.
With a huge roar and plumes of smoke and fire, India’s first attempt at inter-planetary flight — the Mars Orbiter Mission — blasted off to space at 2.38 pm from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre spaceport here on board the workhorse PSLV-C25. With clear skies, it was a perfect textbook launch - DD photo via Twitter
People watch the television coverage of the progress of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) rocket that carries the Mars orbiter spacecraft, in New Delhi on Tuesday. India aims to join the world's deep-space pioneers with a journey to Mars hoping it will showcase India's technological ability to explore the solar system while seeking solutions for everyday problems on Earth. AP
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Update: 6.11.2013
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Start-Rückblick
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Quelle: ISRO
  
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Update: 8.11.2013
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Isro successful in raising orbit of Mars spacecraft
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Scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Thursday raised the orbit of its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, which was launched on Tuesday.
This was the first in a series of five orbit-raising manoeuvres, which will eventually put the spacecraft on the trajectory towards Mars on December 1.
The remaining manoeuvres are scheduled for November 8, 9 11 and 16.
At 1.17am on Thursday, the 440-Newton liquid engine of the spacecraft was fired for 416 seconds by commanding it from Spacecraft Control Centre at Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network at Peenya in Bangalore, said Isro in a statement.
With this engine firing, the spacecraft's apogee (the point in the orbit of a satellite which is farthest from Earth) has been raised to 28,825km, while its perigee (the orbit's nearest point to Earth) is at 252km.
"The satellite health is fine," an Isro scientist said.
The Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, India's first interplanetary spacecraft, was launched on November 5 from Sriharikota into an elliptical earth orbit by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its 25th flight (PSLV-C25).
The spacecraft has to go several rounds around Earth to gradually increase its velocity to attain the escape velocity with minimum fuel consumption.
Following a 300-day interplanetary phase, the spacecraft will enter the Mars orbit on September 24, 2014. The five payloads on the spacecraft will thereafter perform various scientific experiments.

Freitag, 8. November 2013 - 09:12 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Russian Spacewalk beginnt mit Fototermin mit unbeleuchteter Olympischen Fackel

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NASA TV to Air Russian Spacewalk Featuring the Olympic Torch
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Two Russian cosmonauts will carry the Olympic torch when they venture outside the International Space Station Saturday, Nov. 9, for a six-hour spacewalk to perform maintenance work on the orbiting laboratory.
NASA Television will provide live coverage of the spacewalk beginning at 9 a.m. EST.
Expedition 37 Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will open the hatch to the Pirs docking compartment airlock at 9:30 a.m. and float outside for a brief photo opportunity with the unlit torch. They then will stow it back inside the airlock before they begin their chores 260 miles above Earth.
The torch, an icon of international cooperation through sports competition, arrived at the space station Thursday aboard a Soyuz spacecraft carrying three crew members Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos, Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. It will return to Earth on Sunday, Nov. 10, aboard another Soyuz spacecraft vehicle along with crew members Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos, Karen Nyberg of NASA, and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency.
The spacewalk is a high-flying extension of a relay that began in Olympia, Greece, in October. The relay will culminate with the torch being used to light the Olympic flame at the Feb. 7 opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
After the photo opportunity, Kotov and Ryazanskiy will prepare a pointing platform on the hull of the station's Zvezda service module for the installation of a high resolution camera system in December, relocate of a foot restraint for use on future spacewalks and deactivate an experiment package.
The spacewalk will be the 174th in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the fourth in Kotov's career and the first for Ryazanskiy. This will be the eighth spacewalk conducted at the station this year. In December, Tyurin will accompany Kotov on his fifth spacewalk.
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KOTOV OLEG VALERIEVICH
SOYUZ TMA COMMANDER
ISS 22 FLIGHT ENGINEER, ISS 23 COMMANDER
AIR FORCE COLONEL
INSTRUCTOR-TEST-COSMONAUT OF YU.A. GAGARIN COSMONAUT TRAINING CENTER
100TH RUSSIAN COSMONAUT, 452ND WORLD COSMONAUT
PERSONAL DATA: Born October 27, 1965, in Simferopol. Married to Svetlana Nikolayevna Kotova (previously, Bunyakina). They have two children, daughter Valeria, born in 1994, and son Dmitry, born in 2002. His parents, Valeri Efimovich and Elena Ivanovna Kotov, reside in Moscow.
EDUCATION: In 1982 Dr. Kotov finished high school in Moscow and entered the Kirov Military Medical Academy, from which he graduated in 1988. From November 1988 to December 1990 studied functional diagnostics/methods of pilot selection at the Central Air Force Hospital. In 1992 graduated from the Moscow Institute of Industrial property and innovation with a degree in patenting. In 1996 entered the Kachin Air Force pilot school named after A.F. Myasnikov from which he graduated in 1998 with a qualification of pilot-engineer.
EXPERIENCE: After graduation from the Academy, in 1988, he served at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, where he held the positions of Deputy lead test-doctor and Lead test doctor.
During his service he dealt with problems of altitude physiology and space flight effects on human body. He gained great experience in practical training and medical support of EVAs on the Mir station; he was a crew instructor for biomedical training and science program training. He is a certified SCUBA diver.
He was selected as a GCTC cosmonaut candidate in 1996. From June 1996 – March 1998, he completed a course of basic training for spaceflight. In March 1998, he received a test-cosmonaut qualification.
Since July of 1998, Dr. Kotov is a cosmonaut-researcher of the GCTC Cosmonaut Corps.
In May-August 1998, Kotov was trained for a flight on the Soyuz and the Mir station as a backup crewmember to the Mir-26 mission.
In October of 1998 started advanced training for ISS flights.
In December, 1999 received a test-cosmonaut qualification.
From October, 2002 to March, 2003 trained in the Taxi-5 backup crew with P. Vinogradov as Soyuz TMA commander.
From February, 2004 to October, 2005 trained as ISS-13 backup flight engineer and Soyuz TMA commander. After the Columbia accident and transition to a two-person ISS crew, Kotov was removed from the crew in October 2005.
In January, 2006 started training for the ISS-15 prime mission.
SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE: Kotov completed his 1st spaceflight from April to October 2007 (196 days) as Soyuz TMA commander and ISS-15 flight engineer. He performed two EVAs that lasted a total of 11 hours and 47 minutes.
Kotov performed his 2nd spaceflight as Soyuz TMA commander and ISS 22/23 crewmember (ISS 23 commander) with Soichi Noguchi (JAXA) and TJ Creamer (NASA) from December 21, 2009 to June 2, 2010 (163 days). During this flight he performed an EVA that lasted for 5 hours and 44 minutes.
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SERGEY NIKOLAEVICH RYAZANSKIY
SOYUZ TMA-M FLIGHT ENGINEER
ISS FLIGHT ENGINEER
TEST COSMONAUTOF ROSKOSMOS (RUSSIA)
NO SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE
BIRTHDATE AND BIRTHPLACE:Born 14 November, 1974 in Moscow.
PERSONAL DATA: Ryazansky is married. There are three children in the family. His parents, 
Tatyana Yuryevna and Nikolay Mikhailovich Ryazansky, reside in Moscow.
EDUCATION: In 1991 graduated from school # 520 in Moscow and entered the Moscow State University, which he graduated from in 1996 as a biochemist.
In 2000 he graduated from the post-graduate course of the Russian Federation State Science Center at the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
In 2006 he presented a Ph.D. thesis in biology, specializing in physiology and aerospace/naval medicine, his work entitled “Particular features of autokinetic motion in microgravity”.
EXPERIENCE: Upon graduation from the Moscow State University from July 1996 to February 2003 he was working at the Institute of Biomedical Problems as a junior scientist, scientist and senior scientists. He mostly specialized in development and testing means of preventive measures to microgravity adverse impact.    
SPACEFLIGHT TRAINING: In June 2003 he was selected as a cosmonaut candidate of the IBMP Cosmonaut Corps. From June 2003 to July 2005 he was taking basic training at the GCTC. Following  successful evaluation he was certified as a cosmonaut-researcher.
From March 2007 to September 2011 he was taking advanced training at GCTC. 
In spring of 2009 S. Ryazansky was a crew commander of a 105-day-long isolation experiment in the framework of the Mars-500 Project.
In November 2010 the Interdepartmental Certification Board certified him as a test cosmonaut.
Since December 2010 he is a test cosmonaut of the GCTC Cosmonaut Corps.
He is assigned to the E35/36 Backup Crew and since September 2011 takes training as the Soyuz TMA-M and ISS Flight Engineer.
HONORARY AWARDS: He is an honoured space hardware test engineer. Is awarded with   Yu. A.Gagarin and M.S. Ryazansky medals of Russian Federation of Cosmonautics. Has NASA certificate for personal contribution to the Bion-11 International Project and a diploma for significant contribution to the SFINCSS International 240-day-long spaceflight simulation experiment.
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Quelle: NASA

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