[FPSPACE] Fate of Genesis bus

Marc D. Rayman marc.d.rayman at jpl.nasa.gov
Sun Oct 3 00:46:43 EDT 2004


At 9:14 PM +0200 9/30/04, Paolo Ulivi wrote:
>Hi all,
>according to the Genesis launch press kit, the spacecraft bus was to 
>be ditched in the Pacific Ocean after releasing the capsule. 
>However, I have seen studies indicating that it could be diverted 
>and its scientific instruments (two particle monitors) re-used in an 
>extended mission either at L1, or switching between L1 and L2 or in 
>heliocentric orbit.
>The Genesis landing press kit does not mention the ditching, an 
>article in AWST hints that the bus was to be diverted and I find 
>that it is still listed in the JPL's Ephemeris Generator. Does 
>anybody know what was its fate?
>Paolo

As I've seen no response to your question, I'll come out of lurkspace 
momentarily.

Genesis was diverted past Earth following the release of the Sample 
Return Capsule (SRC), and it is in a very high eccentricity orbit, 
with an apogee around 1 million km.  The maneuver was designed to 
accommodate two options: 1) safely dispose of the bus in space if the 
SRC separation were successful, or 2) enable a second entry attempt 
in March 2005 if the SRC separation were aborted or unsuccessful.

I don't work on Genesis, but the last I heard, the plan was simply to 
allow the Sun to pump up the bus' orbital energy, ultimately causing 
it to escape into a heliocentric Earth-trailing orbit.  Because the 
spacecraft has more delta-v capability now than when it was launched 
(the reduction in mass by releasing the SRC more than compensates for 
the propellant expended during the mission), alternatives were being 
considered that might involve other substantial changes to its orbit.

As I understand it, possible uses for the spacecraft include solar 
wind science (as you point out) and astrodynamics tests.

Back to lurking...

Marc Rayman



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