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Archive for January, 2002

31-Jan-02 | EO-1 mission extension

Earth Observing-1 (Delta 282) completed its primary mission in November 2001, but thanks to an agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey, it will remain active through at least February 2002. By selling EO-1’s image data to the research and applications community, USGS will cover operational, data processing, and customer interface costs. After February, the program will be extended on a month-by-month basis, depending on user demand for the data. The spacecraft retains about three years worth of stationkeeping propellant, and barring any hardware failures could survive into 2005.

31-Jan-02 | Farewell, EUVE

NASA and space enthusiasts today bade farewell to EUVE, the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer. The 7,000-pound spacecraft performed an uncontrolled reentry at about 0415 UTC on 31 January 2002, disintegrating over central Egypt. Though some of its larger steel and titanium components were expected to survive atmospheric heating, no ground impacts have been reported as yet. (NASA Press Release, 31-Jan-01)

EUVE was launched in 1992 aboard Delta flight 210, the first member of NASA’s Explorer program to travel aboard a Delta II. During its initial operational phase, it mapped the entire sky in the previously-unseen extreme ultraviolet (70 -760 Å) spectrum. EUVE then spent eight years as a platform for guest observations, surviving well beyond its design lifetime and yielding a vast wealth of information. Scientific publications based on EUVE data now number in the hundreds, with many more to come. The program was terminated in December 2000 due to NASA concerns about budget and diminishing science returns, and on 2 February 2001, EUVE was switched off.

16-Jan-02 | FAME program cancelled

According to the SSC Space Diary, 10-Jan-02, “NASA has cancelled the development of the Full-sky Astrometric Mapping Explorer (FAME) which was to have been launched in 2004 [aboard a Delta 7425] to measure stellar positions of more than 40 million stars. The agency does not have the confidence that the craft will meet its planned accuracy of less than 50 microarcseconds. FAME was selected as a MIDEX mission in 1999.” (Thanks to Gunter Krebs for the info.)

14-Jan-02 | Jason-1 calibration

Jason-1 has reached its operational orbit and has begun six months of instrument calibrations by flying in formation with the spacecraft it will eventually replace, TOPEX/Poseidon. Until the latter’s demise, the two spacecraft will be used in tandem to observe ocean currents with greater resolution than either could provide alone.

14-Jan-02 | Mars Odyssey aerobraking complete

2001 Mars Odyssey has successfully completed the aerobraking phase of its mission. During the past 2-1/2 months, Odyssey dipped into the atmosphere some 332 times, reducing the height of its apoapsis from 15,000 nautical miles to a mere 270 nm. A 244-second thruster burn on 11 January then raised its periapsis out of the atmosphere. Controllers will refine Odyssey’s orbit over the next few weeks before commencing science operations.



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