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How dangerous is the Genesis Payload?

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  • How dangerous is the Genesis Payload?

    <TABLE border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=2></TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top align=left width=125></TD><TD vAlign=top align=left width=355>Genesis Hits the Mark For Utah Reentry Wednesday
    By Leonard David
    Senior Space Writer
    posted: 06 September 2004
    01:01 pm ET

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><META content="Microsoft Word 97" name=Generator>
    NASA’s Genesis spacecraft performed a critical trajectory maneuver September 6, putting it on a precise course for plunging into Earth’s atmosphere and fireballing its way toward the Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR), southwest of Salt Lake City.

    Loaded with an invaluable set of solar wind particles, Genesis is headed for a September 8 skydive into the UTTR where an awaiting helicopter crew will attempt to snare in mid-air the spacecraft’s return capsule.

    Genesis recovery teams are at the ready for Wednesday’s air show at the UTTR, completing over the weekend a rehearsal of actions to be taken on reentry and recovery day.

    The Genesis sample return capsule will be caught in midair by a specially equipped helicopter. Doing so avoids a far-rougher ground landing and better preservation of the delicate wafers that hold particles of the Sun captured far from Earth.

    Right on the money

    The maneuver this morning was "right on the money", said Kenny Starnes, the Genesis spacecraft Team Chief at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Denver, Colorado. The firm designed and built the spacecraft, is carrying out maneuvers of the craft, and monitors the probe’s overall health.

    "Everything looks perfect…just what we hoped for," Starnes told Following the Genesis maneuver this morning, engineers will be assessing through the day the spacecraft’s exact position and overall health status, he said.

    Tense hours are still ahead for Genesis mission operators. Release of the sample return capsule from the main body of the Genesis spacecraft is critical. So is hitting an exact keyhole in the Earth’s atmosphere that drops the Genesis capsule into UTTR airspace.

    Heading for cleanrooms

    The Genesis specimens now en route to Utah are NASA's first return samples beyond Earth since the final Apollo lunar moonwalk mission in 1972, and the first material collected beyond the Moon.

    On Wednesday, the Genesis sample return capsule will enter Earth's atmosphere at 9:55 A.M. local Mountain Time. Two minutes and seven seconds after atmospheric entry and still flying supersonically, the capsule will deploy a drogue parachute at 108,000 feet (33 kilometers) altitude. Six minutes after that, the main parachute, the parafoil, will deploy 20,000 feet (6.1 kilometers) up.

    Helicopter teams will be at the ready to snare the sample canister as it glides across the UTTR. Once the mid-air retrieval is achieved, the sample return capsule will be flown to Michael Army Air Field at the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground in Utah where a ground team will place the capsule in a specially-built clean room for initial handling.

    The sample-holding capsule will then be trucked to a laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Once at that location, the Genesis capsule will be opened and the solar particles extracted, preserved and cataloged under ultra-pure cleanroom conditions.

  • #2
    The Genesis Payload? I've seen that one before. We just need to make sure the Klingons don't go after it.
    ***Edited for explicit content***


    • #3
      IT CRASHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Parachutes didn't open so those guys that were there to try to intercept it before it hit the ground didn't get a chance to try to catch the thing.

      got dang.

      Mussy by birth.....Native by the Grace of God.......


      • #4
        Space Probe Fails to Deploy Chute, Slams into Earth
        By Leonard David
        Senior Space Writer
        posted: 08 September 2004
        12:04 pm ET

        Updated 12:32 p.m. ET

        DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, UTAH -- A NASA spacecraft carrying bits of the Sun crashed into the Utah desert this morning, putting a disastrous ending to a years-long mission to bring back samples of the Sun.

        The probe was supposed to deploy a parachute and be snagged by a helicopter for safe recovery.

        The capsule, carrying tiny particles from the solar wind, was half buried in the sandy surface and "appeared to be intact," said a NASA mission controller.

        Genesis and its solar cargo slammed into the ground at about 100 mph, said Chris Jones, a spokesperson for NASA. The space agency did not immediately provide any other detail on the condition of the probe or its contents, but scientists are optimistic there will be some particles to recover.

        "We've lost something," said Roger Wines, science team flight payload leader from Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Now we'll we'll have to analyze the pieces."

        Since its launch in August 2001, the $264 million Genesis mission flew to a point just under one million miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth. Once there, the spacecraft deployed sample collectors to "soak up the Sun" -- entrapping particles carried into space by a constantly streaming "solar wind" for return to Earth. The particles were obtained by sets of collectors that were exposed to space over a period of 850 days.

        Under blue sky and nearly cloudless conditions here, a mini-squadron of three helicopters took off at about 11:25 a.m. ET, positioning their aircraft in a holding pattern at about 10,000 feet to await the arrival of the descending capsule. All appeared to be going well.

        When the helicopters lifted off, Genesis was above the atmosphere, roughly halfway between the United States and Hawaii, screaming toward the planet.

        A few minutes before Noon ET powerful radar and visual instruments here at the Test and Training Range spotted the Genesis capsule sliding through the atmosphere over the western part of the country. The probe was spinning 15 times a minute, looking like an out-of-control garbage can or some space boulder as it flew in at high speed.

        "I just had a big pit in my stomach," Wines said of watching Genesis plummet toward the ground.

        Video taken from the ground followed the probe all the way to the surface, while NASA officials noted that the parachute had not opened, as planned.

        The helicopter crews were to spot the capsule and latch onto it with a long hook.

        Scientists hoped the solar samples, considered among the most primordial bits of the solar system available, would help them unravel mysteries surrounding the formation of the nine planets and the central star they orbit.

        Being the first U.S. sample return mission since Apollo 17 moonwalkers brought back lunar samples in 1972, Genesis was to be a trailblazer for another return sample effort, the NASA Stardust mission. It is slated to make a Utah parachute landing on January 15, 2006.

        A slogan spotted on one of the mission control computers at the Utah ground facility proved prophetic. It read, "Genesis: Utah or Bust."'s Robert Roy Britt contributed to this story.

        Editor's Note: will report later today on an expected NASA press conference regarding the Genesis crash.


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