[meteorite-list] Government Shutdown Puts MAVEN Launch Preparations On Hold

From: Michael Farmer <mike_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2013 16:20:48 -0700
Message-ID: <DA7FAE04-B725-4758-97B1-DDA939B36FF4_at_meteoriteguy.com>

Ahhhh the genius of the GOP.
Gonna cost the USA billions and billions all for a temper tantrum.

Michael Farmer
Sent from my iPhone

> On Oct 1, 2013, at 3:49 PM, Ron Baalke <baalke at zagami.jpl.nasa.gov> wrote:
> http://www.spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av038/131001shutdown/
> Government shutdown puts MAVEN launch preps on hold
> October 1, 2013
> Without funding to pay for numerous programs and research, engineers began
> shutting down work on a $671 million Mars science orbiter at the Kennedy
> Space Center on Tuesday, halting critical preparations ahead of the mission's
> narrow interplanetary launch window in November.
> The launch window, which opens Nov. 18 and extends to Dec. 7, is restricted
> by the locations of Earth and Mars. Launch opportunities to the red planet
> only come once every 26 months.
> The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft was on
> schedule to launch from Florida on Nov. 18 aboard a United Launch Alliance
> Atlas 5 rocket. The launch will put MAVEN on a 10-month journey to Mars,
> with arrival in orbit at the red planet set for Sept. 22, 2014.
> But the launch date could be in jeopardy if the federal government's partial
> shutdown lasts more than a week. The shutdown began at midnight EDT Tuesday,
> at the beginning of a new fiscal year, because Congress failed to agree
> on a federal budget.
> NASA will continue operating missions in flight, such as the International
> Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Curiosity rover now
> on Mars, but the space agency, acting on orders from the Office of Management
> and Budget, halted development and testing of spacecraft still on Earth
> awaiting launch.
> "MAVEN has not been classed as exempt from the shutdown, so our plan is
> to carry out an orderly shutdown," said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN's principal
> investigator from the University of Colorado at Boulder's Laboratory for
> Atmospheric and Space Physics.
> NASA and Lockheed Martin Corp., MAVEN's prime contractor, were preparing
> the spacecraft inside a clean room at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
> MAVEN carries a suite of instruments to study how gases escape from the
> upper atmosphere of Mars, which could tell scientists how the red planet
> evolved from a world hospitable for life to the barren planet of today.
> "In an orderly shut down, the key thing is to ensure that all the hardware
> is in a safe and known state so that we can pick it up again when we resume,
> and that it is protected against environmental problems," Jakosky said.
> Uneasy with MAVEN's launch schedule following the government shutdown,
> officials said they are evaluating whether this fall's launch window could
> be extended a few days into mid-December to buy more time.
> If MAVEN missed this year's launch window, the next chance to launch the
> probe toward Mars would be in early 2016.
> Engineers made good progress on MAVEN since the orbiter arrived at KSC
> from its factory in Denver on Aug. 2, said Guy Beutelschies, Lockheed
> Martin's MAVEN program manager, in an interview Friday.
> Beutelschies said the MAVEN team was working with nine days of schedule
> margin to meet the Nov. 18 launch date.
> Technicians ensured all of MAVEN's systems still functioned after the
> cross-country flight from Denver, installed the satellite's flight batteries,
> put the spacecraft through mission simulations, tested its communications
> with NASA's network of tracking antennas, and unfurled its solar panels
> to check their deployment mechanisms, according to Beutelschies.
> The next steps were to finish up testing of MAVEN's propulsion system
> and put the cubical spacecraft on a spin table to check its mass properties.
> MAVEN's load of toxic hydrazine propellant was scheduled to be pumped
> into the orbiter's propellant tank in late October, and Lockheed Martin
> was planning to hand over the spacecraft to United Launch Alliance on
> Nov. 1 for attachment to the Atlas 5 rocket's payload adapter and encapsulation
> inside the launcher's four-meter-diameter payload fairing.
> "The team, absolutely across the board, institutions and individuals alike,
> is totally committed to doing whatever it takes to launch on time," Jakosky
> said Monday. "We're prepared to schedule double shifts and work seven
> days if necessary, ensuring, of course, that we do things safely and technically
> correctly. We'll have to wait and see what the feds do over the next one
> to several days."
> ______________________________________________
> Visit the Archives at http://www.meteorite-list-archives.com
> Meteorite-list mailing list
> Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
> http://six.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/meteorite-list
Received on Tue 01 Oct 2013 07:20:48 PM PDT

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb