Deep Impact Comet Bash live

[coverage of Planetary Society’s Deep Impact Comet Bash: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 ]

There is WiFi in the house here at Citrus College. Yeehah!

Currently there is a discussion of Cosmos 1 [the solar sail mission sponsored by the Planetary Society, and which suffered a failure during launch] taking place by Dr. Louis Friedman.

1st stage burn was supposed to be 110 seconds long, only was 83 seconds. The 2nd stage would not have separated, vehicle would’ve followed a curved path (we see onscreen) to Bering Sea, Archipeligo [very russian-sounding-name]strovia.

We detected signals… what did that mean? if it did separate, other firing stages would’ve been normal, but gone into a too-low orbit. We don’t know, we don’t calculate orbit/trajectory based on Russian nuclear specs.

We’re still working on what happened (Planetary Society and Russian space partners); don’t have enough trajectory information. We’re continuing to analyze data that was received from 1st three ground stations.

Think we see data from the 1st motor burn from the station (northish, this is upper left of Pacific Ocean). Detected a noisy signal at ground station in Czech republic. We don’t think we detected signals in another orbit pass.

US Command (formerly NORAD) didn’t get any catalog of this signal (it’d’ve taken a few orbits to get signal).

We are now convinced that spacecraft is now lost, not in orbit at all. We’re still waiting to hear more about the rocket. If spacecraft got to orbit, and computer/transmitter started, that’d be exciting to know that we had a working spacecraft.

Gonna show a video of the launch. Of a submarine launch. [first scene is working with the rocket, lying horizontal in some cavernous room somewhere. Close ups of logos on side of rocket] Next scene: Loading/placing missile into the sub. [funky, that: Long horizontal watercraft, and missile is placed vertically into hold of sub, similar to submerging, say, a mast within the depths of a ship] 14 meters high. Visuals of missile being placed INTO the sub. Advantage of submarine is that they can be launched anywhere. Once outside the mermansk sea, launch. The whole trip out takes 4-5 hours. launch, and then 4-5 hours back… Launch was at 11:46pm local time. Since it’s above the arctic circle, on summer solstice. so sun is there, midnight sun. We saw 20 seconds of launch, then video ended. launch took place while sub was on surface of sea. [good to see that, the “whether surface or underwater” aspect puzzled me]

“We’re going to do it again.” We’ve got a few things to work out… we gotta find a new launch vehicle. We have to find funding. We think we have all the spare parts. So we can put it together.

Product of mission is to prod space agencies, inspired the world (we got lots of press). Inspired NASA. It’ll be a little slower for NASA… ESA, Japanese space agencies. We’ve pushed the system pretty well… Thank you for your support.

Q&A:
(missed first question)

Q: What’s the next step…assuming we can get a solar sail orbiter, what’s the next step? What would applications be?

A: Hope of solar sailing is that you fly without fuel. Great for rendezvous with comets and asteroids, hover with them, match their velocity, good for sample return missions to inner solar system (Mercury, Venus, Mars), and asteroids. Trips out to outer solar system at faster speeds. 2-3 year trip times to Pluto rather than 8-9. Lighter, b/c it doesn’t have to carry fuel. That’s the long range goal, to have tech for interstellar flight.

Q: What was involved in decision to use russian sub for launch? What options exploring for another launch?

A: In space business there’s no such thing as a free launch. It wasn’t free, but it was cheap. ($4 million, included 2 launches) Don’t have to build a rocket. They exist. Military missiles: you can destroy them, or use them, actually cheaper to use than to destroy. These rockets had a good record (until recently). Other russian rockets with good records, and [something else I missed].

Q: Missed. something about sail

A: cost of mission was $4 million. Altitude was [to have been] 800 km, if all had gone well, w/in a month, it’d gone up another 100 km. Relatively thick 5 micron mylar… thinner than that for deep space. When you get into sails that’re to sail for a long time, you have to get into different materials that’ll last longer.

Q: how long to get to Pluto.. what of Voyager n Pioneer

A: Ppicks up speeds later, goes hundreds of thousands mph (10 year trajectory for Voyager, 2-3 speeds). Interstellar would require lasers (b/c no more sun shining in sail). Planetary Society is deeply involved in *analyzing* Pioneer data (pioneer no longer sending data back to us). Other stuff regarding funding.

One response to “Deep Impact Comet Bash live”

  1. Backup Brain

    Deep Impact Wrap-up

    A quick wrap-up of thoughts after watching last night’s Deep Impact Mission… While Susan was guest-blogging the Planetary Society Comet Bash, someone from the Planetary Society was guest-blogging at JPL. It’s a shame the latter wasn’t better publi…