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climber
In case you missed it there's 9 minutes on MSL (actual hardware visible) + 5 minutes with Dr Elachi on "This week in Space" there: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/
14 minutes out of 23 regarding Unmanned, not bad.
punkboi
Looks like NASA is planning to launch MSL between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?rele...elease_2010-171
punkboi
High Gain Antenna for the Curiosity rover is en route to JPL

http://www.satnews.com/cgi-bin/story.cgi?number=525858649
punkboi
NASA Dryden Hosts Radar Tests for Next Mars Landing

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-197

Engineers with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., are running diverse trials with a test version of the radar system that will enable NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission to put the Curiosity rover onto the Martian surface in August 2012.

One set of tests conducted over a desert lakebed at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., in May 2010 used flights with a helicopter simulating specific descent paths anticipated for Martian sites.
climber
Very nice topic actually. BTW, do we know the dead line to get MSL sent to the Cape?
punkboi
Spacecraft are usually sent to the Cape 3 months before launch...though in Spirit and Opportunity's case, they were delivered to Cape Canaveral 4-5 months before launch (January 2003, while Spirit launched in June and Opportunity launched in July of that year)

If MSL launches in November of 2011, then early summer going on the assumption above smile.gif
ElkGroveDan
If they want a really robust test location to simulate unknown Martian landing conditions they should go to the desert areas in and around Joshua Tree National Park.
nprev
Do we know the means by which MSL will be sent to the Cape yet (i.e., airlift or overland)?
djellison
Oh - I don't think they've overlanded a spacecraft in years have they? Bound to be an airlift.

nprev
For some reason, I thought that the MERs went overland. I know that JPL has (or had) a fairly robust overland transport infrastructure for moving spacecraft. (I think airlift's the way to go, though, definitely.)
stevesliva
QUOTE (nprev @ Jun 12 2010, 08:12 PM) *
(I think airlift's the way to go, though, definitely.)


http://www.afrc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123137819

Googled around assuming it would be placed on a C-17. Bingo.
Enceladus75
Wasn't Galileo transported back and forth from the Cape to California via road overland? And wasn't the overland mode blamed for the removal of lubricant from that high gain antenna which never was able to open fully?

I would hope ALL deep space unmanned craft were transported to the launch site via airlift. And if not, by sea.
nprev
I think Galileo actually went back & forth between the Cape & JPL several times due to launch delays, and that eventually hosed the lubricant.

Very happy to hear that MSL's definitely flying; a C-17 is a nice, safe, smooth ride! smile.gif
centsworth_II
QUOTE (nprev @ Jun 12 2010, 07:12 PM) *
For some reason, I thought that the MERs went overland....
Could be the first sentence from chapter 10 of Roving Mars.

"At 5 A.M. on February 22, 2003, a truck convoy left JPL, carrying the MER-2 rover to Florida. In a nice dramatic touch, a magnitude 5.4 earthquake hit southern California just forty minutes before the trucks rolled..."
nprev
Probably. Time to reread that anyhow; thanks for the reminder $0.02! smile.gif
MahFL
What is the actual size of the HGAS ?
djellison
HGAS?
PDP8E
High Gain Antenna System????????? (thats all I have)
StevenLee
QUOTE (ElkGroveDan @ Jun 12 2010, 12:14 PM) *
If they want a really robust test location to simulate unknown Martian landing conditions they should go to the desert areas in and around Joshua Tree National Park.

Good call, ElkGroveDan. After Rogers, we continued helicopter radar testing over Amboy Crater and Cadiz Sand Dunes about 50 miles north of Joshua Tree. Amboy has morphology (terrain shapes) similar to Eberswalde Crater and Mawrth. Cadiz Sand Dunes allowed us to test the radar over more "fluffy" terrain to make sure it doesn't absorb or otherwise dillute the radar beams (we found it doesn't). We also flew over Death Valley which has terrain similar to what we see from MRO images of Holden Crater and Eberswalde Crater. It also contains "Mars Hill" which has rock distributions strikingly like some sites on Mars (it looks a lot like the the Viking 2 site at Utopia Planitia).
- Steve
(BTW, I'm the GN&C manager for MSL)
ElkGroveDan
Great to have you aboard Steven. I tried to stop by Amboy with Doug Ellison last year but in the two decades since I went there on a geology field course the Park Service has closed off the road to the crater leaving only a foot trail and the sun was going down. But we did make it to Mars Hill the next day. Funny you would mention Cadiz. When Spirit first began looking back from Larry's Lookout it reminded me of the view from the hills above Cadiz. I would imagine that a jaunt up the Western side of the Owens Valley with all that fractured basalt and the number of cinder cones would provide for some challenging terrain for the radar too.

Please drop back in every now and then when you can and let us know how it's all going.
djellison
For those wanting the soft squishy counterpart to the crunch radar targets....

Parachute testing up at the 120ft Wind Tunnel

Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/user/JPLnews#p/u/4/O7vf2HUMMdo

2
http://www.youtube.com/user/JPLnews#p/u/3/JRRcbZlofOk

3
http://www.youtube.com/user/JPLnews#p/u/2/-NJamPhtRjA

And my personal favorite - proving that Engineers are people to...Part 4
http://www.youtube.com/user/JPLnews#p/u/1/J6TceTZq1L0

The high-speed photography of chute deployment is a beautiful organic flowing rippling sea-creature like event that is worth watching on its own. Stunning.
Sunspot
MSL with wheels attached

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/space...mentId=blogDest
James Sorenson
It looks so mean, and ready to take on anything that gets in its way smile.gif
MahFL
"Weighing almost a ton, the nuclear-isotope-powered is set for launch in the fall of next year, with landing on Mars almost a year after that."

They missed a word out in that scentence, and aren't they supposed to be using tonnes ?............. rolleyes.gif
charborob
QUOTE (James Sorenson @ Jun 30 2010, 08:15 PM) *
It looks so mean, and ready to take on anything that gets in its way smile.gif

Let's just hope it can negotiate sand traps. I wonder if they tested it in soft ground.
punkboi
The wheels were installed onto Curiosity on June 28 and 29. Unless problems crop up during testing that would cause them to be removed again, the wheels are now permanently attached to the rover.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/msl20100701.html
James Sorenson
QUOTE (charborob @ Jul 1 2010, 11:23 AM) *
Let's just hope it can negotiate sand traps. I wonder if they tested it in soft ground.


Good point. Of coarse they wouldn't test the flight model, but I hope they have tested it with an engineering model to see how it does in soft soil. The wider wheels on MSL should help quite abit.
helvick
Doug commented on this some time ago - MSL should be better able to deal with soft terrain than the MER's. It may be bigger but its weight is distributed over a proportionally larger contact area.
MahFL
I doubt there can ever be a wheeled vehicle that cannot be trapped in some hellish sand trap. No doubt the drivers though will be very carefull.
helvick
That's very true but MSL has the benefit of the incredible expertise that has been acquired through the MER's - being careful goes without saying but that expertise is also invaluable. I'm not worried about sand or any other obstacles on the ground - EDL is what I'm saving all my worries for.
tharrison
QUOTE (MahFL @ Jul 2 2010, 03:46 AM) *
I doubt there can ever be a wheeled vehicle that cannot be trapped in some hellish sand trap. No doubt the drivers though will be very carefull.


Well, the drivers were the ones that got Spirit stuck...the science team folks told them not to drive in the sandy area where it got stuck but they did it anyway. rolleyes.gif
MahFL
QUOTE (tharrison @ Jul 2 2010, 06:36 PM) *
Well, the drivers were the ones that got Spirit stuck...the science team folks told them not to drive in the sandy area where it got stuck but they did it anyway. rolleyes.gif


Can you supply a reference to backup that statement ?
BrianL
Would you ask Scott Maxwell for a reference every time he tweets something? Insider info is good enough for me. I guess I'm just a trusting soul. smile.gif
sgendreau
QUOTE (tharrison @ Jul 2 2010, 11:36 AM) *
Well, the drivers were the ones that got Spirit stuck...the science team folks told them not to drive in the sandy area where it got stuck but they did it anyway. rolleyes.gif



The drivers can overrule the science team when deciding where to go? How's that?
punkboi
QUOTE (sgendreau @ Jul 9 2010, 09:29 AM) *
The drivers can overrule the science team when deciding where to go? How's that?


Safety reasons. The drivers are obviously the ones controlling the vehicle. They should call the shots. (Though this goes against what tharrison posted above. biggrin.gif)

Much as how a landing site (for Phoenix, MER, MSL or whatever) that's proposed by the science team can be disapproved by the engineering team if the site is deemed too hazardous.
elakdawalla
If you read Scott Maxwell's blog, you'll get a feel for how the scientists' job is to pick destinations, not routes; the drivers' job is to route the rover to the destination safely -- or to tell the scientists it can't be done because it can't be done safely. If you read Scott's blog you'll also get a feel for how much he hates to say things can't be done. If there's a way to do it safely, they'll find it. But then it may take too much time and the scientists will decide it's not worth it. There is a great deal of give-and-take in the daily process of planning the rovers' driving.
djellison
Worth noting in the case of spirit - Scientists have explicitly said that they didn't see Spirit's current sand trap coming.
nprev
One other thing worth noting: This is no-kidding exploration of an alien planet in its purest sense, and the MERs have not only survived long beyond expectations but surmounted numerous unexpected obstacles. This does not presuppose a magic ability to see things coming in an alien environment, but does speak volumes about the talent of the team.

Hell, if I was driving the MERs we'd have been lucky to get off the descent stages, and I'd probably have a couple of DUIs! wink.gif
Mirek
MSL spins its wheels for the first time (July 9th 2010).

http://tinyurl.com/2ej2l26

nprev
Awesome. She's looking like a no-kidding rover now!!!

Question: What's the deal with the wheels re that one region on each that has no tread, just connecting strips + holes? Is that for mass savings, or perhaps an artifact of the fabrication process, or is there an operational reason?
ElkGroveDan
I was under the impression that like the MERs, the interrupted tread pattern was for optical navigation purposes but I can't cite the source of that information offhand.
nprev
Sounds logical. I'm kind of surprised at the size of the holes, though; definitely a major decrease in surface contact area over, what, maybe 30 deg of the circumference?

Obviously there's more than enough margin, though; if one wheel slips, odds are that all the rest won't have their holed regions on the surface at the same time.
Pavel
I guess martian rocks would eventually get stuck in the holes and increase the surface contact area rolleyes.gif
toddbronco2
QUOTE (nprev @ Jul 13 2010, 05:21 PM) *
Awesome. She's looking like a no-kidding rover now!!!

Question: What's the deal with the wheels re that one region on each that has no tread, just connecting strips + holes? Is that for mass savings, or perhaps an artifact of the fabrication process, or is there an operational reason?


You guys are going to love this (I was clued into it by a guy on the MSL ATLO team)! There's a Morse code message hidden in those gaps. The video shows it pretty clearly too, though I guess the pattern is backwards if you look at the rover from the front
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charborob
Unnecessary quote removed Admin

Translation: "JPL".
djellison
That's quite a giggle for those that remember the wheels on the MSL Scarecrow mobility model - check the tread on that

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00001010/

sgendreau
QUOTE (toddbronco2 @ Jul 14 2010, 07:22 AM) *
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That rocks. laugh.gif

(Oh, and it rolls.) [ducks]

nprev
LOVE it!!! laugh.gif
punkboi
MSL now has her Remote Sensing Mast
James Sorenson
Can't wait till we get higher res pics of the New mast. Ohh and a clean room panorama of the rover taken by Mastcam's perspective smile.gif .
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