Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Coming soon: The sun in 3-D

10.11.2005


Twin APL-built solar probes shipped to NASA Goddard for pre-launch tests


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



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

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


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

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

Swinging into Orbit

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

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

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

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

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

Kristi Marren | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhuapl.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>