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MTO Cancelled
djellison
post Jul 21 2005, 06:30 PM
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Just listening to the MRO conference. Highlights included...

1) 5.4 Mbits is the highest MRO data rate (not the 4 I thought)
2) An extra 50-ish KG of fuel puts it's low-altitude orbit life thru to the next decade.
3) MTO HAS BEEN CANCELLED

What the HELL!

They say that MSL can still do its mission with just MRO as it's relay capacity will suffice.

But that means less science data during an MRO extension sad.gif

Seems a bit short sighted.

Doug
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um3k
post Jul 21 2005, 06:35 PM
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Redstone
post Jul 21 2005, 08:42 PM
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Pando hinted at this. I had no idea, although I never heard of MTO having a lot of backing in the media or scientific community.

I missed the beginning and the replay did not cover it. Was MTO cancelled because MSL went over budget?

A reporter asked what happens if MRO fails, and the NASA reply was that they would rely on Odyssey, MGS and Direct-to-Earth. I'm sure that's possible, but I bet it means MSL would tie up a lot of DSN time. Probably imaging would suffer, since the spectra and chemical analysis data give more science for the megabit.

Now that MTO is gone, I'm doubly crossing my fingers for MRO.
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djellison
post Jul 21 2005, 08:58 PM
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Quite simply - for MSL to have any hope in hell of achieving what it's setting out to - MRO HAS to work. It's that simple.

Doug
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Guest_vjkane2000_*
post Jul 21 2005, 09:16 PM
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Guests






Griffin is remaking the priorities in the science budget. MTO would
be gone to preserve the MSL 2009 date, help fund the Hubble
servicing mission, and help fund the Glory mission.

Can't say that I would argue with his priorities. MTO would be
wonderful, but is the extra data from Mars (over what can be sent
without MTO) equal to a different dedicated science mission? While this makes MSL dependent on MRO, how many insurance policies do we want to buy for the data relay? MRO is the primary relay, the rover has its own backup antenna, and MTO would be the second backup. I agree with Griffin that funding MSL, Hubble, and Glory are higher priorities.

Here's the summary, the full article is at Nasa Watch
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=17424

The Solar System Exploration Theme would be reduced by $98 million
by deferring investments in long-term Mars missions and preparation
for human missions to Mars while also increasing investment in near-
term Mars exploration needs. These reductions would be made
available by cancellation of the Mars Telecommunications Orbiter and
the Optical Communications demonstration, and deferral of the
planned Mars Sample Return Mission, while increases would be made to
fund extended operations of the Mars Exploration Rovers, and to
maintain a 2009 launch date for the Mars Science Laboratory.

The Universe Theme would be increased by $10 million, with $30
million provided to preserve the option of servicing the Hubble with
a Space Shuttle mission until a decision can be made following
successful return to flight missions. Most funds for Hubble would
come by reducing the Terrestrial Planet Finder investment.

The Earth-Sun System Theme would be increased by $88.3 million to
fully fund a standalone Glory mission, provide additional funding
for extending the missions of currently operating satellites, and
maintain the launch schedule for the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
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lyford
post Jul 21 2005, 11:34 PM
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I think there goes my crazy dream of a fleet of Tumbleweed rovers.... not enough bandwidth in orbit up there to track 'em....


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Lyford Rome
"Zis is not nuts, zis is super-nuts!" Mathematician Richard Courant on viewing an Orion test
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MiniTES
post Jul 22 2005, 12:16 AM
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mad.gif mad.gif ohmy.gif

I'm a big supporter of Griffin ("rather dumb" to turn off Voyager biggrin.gif ) and even of NASA's new Moon-to-Mars manned spaceflight focus (please don't throw any cans at me wink.gif ). But still, I don't think this cut is worth it. I'd rather see MSL (two MSLs?) fly in 2011 if it meant that we'd get MTO. This may seem like it's convenient now but wait until MSL arrives with no MTO in orbit - we'd BETTER actually fly MSL in 2009 for this to be worth it.
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Guest_Analyst_*
post Jul 22 2005, 12:05 PM
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Guests






There goes the James Cameron mars movie.

But:

- Two 5 min MRO passes per sol with 2 Mbit/s (from the MRO press kit) = 1200 Mbit (comm at night will be not an issue because of the RTG)
- Two 10 min Odyssey passes per sol with 256 kbit/s = 307.2 Mbit (current MER passes)
- 120 min (???) DTE per sol with 16 kbit/s (???) = 115.2 Mbit
- more than two passes per orbiter each sol, consider a third MRO pass at day or night if geometry allows it + 600 Mbit

gives 1622.4 Mbit (+ 600 Mbit) each sol (about 10 times that of MER). Not that bad.

I will miss the optical telecom experiment. This is the future.

Is MTO canceled for 2009 and delayed to 2011/2013 ... or simply canceled and gone?

Analyst
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djellison
post Jul 22 2005, 12:29 PM
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MTO, because of being in a higher orbit - would have allowed more like 10Gbit/sol

sad.gif

Doug
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Guest_Analyst_*
post Jul 22 2005, 12:50 PM
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Guests






I know, but hey, MPF transmitted 2 GBits in the whole mission smile.gif. MSL can do this in one sol, that's almost two orders of magnitude better. Well, imaging will suffer. But where are all those Scout missions, maybe someone can carry Elektra too?

I always thought MTO was a bit oversized, more than two tons, big Altlas V launcher. Maybe there is a chance in the Delta class, MGS like, one ton, eliptical orbit (not optimal I know). (Btw. what is MEX doing these day from a relay point of view?).

Hey, we get Hubble SM4. And yes, it's a MANNED mission, but HST can do another five years of great science afterwards.

The class is half full.

Analyst
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djellison
post Jul 22 2005, 12:53 PM
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QUOTE (Analyst @ Jul 22 2005, 12:50 PM)
Hey, we get Hubble SM4.


GRRrrrrrrrrrrrr bloody Hubble. Dont even get me started.

I'm just gutted they didnt go for a downsized MTO - use the same hardware as MRO, but by dropping all the science instruments, having more, but smaller solar array panels the 2kw budget could be generated at mars on a spacecraft somewhere between the scale of MRO and MGS.

It's the duration of the overflights that was the bonus for MTO - not 10 minutes, but many tens of minutes.

By dropping MTO, we drop a lot of extended mission science for MRO, we drop the on orbit rendezvous experiments, the optical comms experiment, the small instrument opportunity, and the redundency it offered over and above MRO.

Doug
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Guest_Analyst_*
post Jul 22 2005, 01:49 PM
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Guests






Contrary to popular mythology I don't see the shuttle as an old fashioned design, same for HST. We will miss both then they are gone. Don't get me wrong, I would love see to MTO, but if they can't afford it.

Why do we lose a lot of the MRO extended mission science? MSL will not land on Mars before late 2010, after MROs second martian year (about two years after it's primary mission). Second, it will only communicate with MSL four times per sol for 10 minutes each (maximum numbers). It can relay the data to earth at about the same rate it gets them and thus needs about 40 minutes per sol (maximum). There will be much downlink capacity for it's own data. I'm not sure if they will raise it's orbit, but that can be changed if they like more high res pictures. Besides, it reduces the resolution only a little bit.

The rendezvous can be done in earth orbit (DART failed), the optical comm experiment is a real loss. I don't know anything about the lost science instruments on MTO (5Kg, 10W ?). And the redundancy, nice to have, but better MSL without MTO than MTO without MSL.

Analyst
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Cugel
post Jul 22 2005, 03:28 PM
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My two points of concern here:

1. As MSL does not have (in its current design) a direct to Earth communication link it is now completely depending on MrO. (which will last upto 2015 or so)

2. MSL itself, although Mike is apparently fighting for it, has now shifted to the top of the hitlist. Which is rather scary, given that we have to colonize the Moon first.

I'm afraid cancelling science missions will become a trend for the coming years.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Jul 22 2005, 05:36 PM
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I've just rechecked my notes from the January Mars Roadmap meeting. MTO was suppposed to return five to 50 times as much data daily as MRO and Odyssey combined could. (Each of them could return 100 Mbytes daily; MTO was supposed to return 1 to 10 Gbytes daily.)

And, being in a high orbit, it would have allowed real-time contact with the rover for 2.5 to 9 hours out of every Sol (split up into 5 or 6 sessions), as opposed to the 16 minutes/Sol allowed by each low-altitude science orbiter -- which means that it would have allowed them to drive every rover during MTO's 10-year lifetime for vastly greater distances across the surface and study far more targets. In short, by giving up MTO they HAVE given up the amount of additional science return that they would have gotten, not just from one additional science mission, but from several. Penny-wise, pound-foolish.
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MiniTES
post Jul 22 2005, 06:27 PM
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QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Jul 22 2005, 05:36 PM)
I've just rechecked my notes from the January Mars Roadmap meeting.  MTO was suppposed to return five to 50 times as much data daily as MRO and Odyssey combined could.  (Each of them could return 100 Mbytes daily; MTO was supposed to return 1 to 10 Gbytes daily.)

And, being in a high orbit, it would have allowed real-time contact with the rover for 2.5 to 9 hours out of every Sol (split up into 5 or 6 sessions), as opposed to the 16 minutes/Sol allowed by each low-altitude science orbiter -- which means that it would have allowed them to drive every rover during MTO's 10-year lifetime for vastly greater distances across the surface and study far more targets.  In short, by giving up MTO they HAVE given up the amount of additional science return that they would have gotten, not just from one additional science mission, but from several. Penny-wise, pound-foolish.
*


Considering how important this is, has MTO been deferred or cancelled outright? Might it resurface? This is a decision we're going to regret later - and if we do end up sending people to Mars, we'll need something akin to MTO anyhow. I'd rather see them cancel the 2011 Scout or Scouts than MTO.
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