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nprev
Okay, we're off and running! Please post all comments relating to MSL's transit to Mars here.
Oersted
Click to view attachment

The live footage of the first couple of kilometers of the cruise looked really good... smile.gif
climber
Oppy, here I come !
Waiting for post launch conference now!
nprev
Yeah, that was indeed a beautiful sight to behold, all right. smile.gif

Now the waiting begins.
vikingmars
smile.gif ... and we just had champagne at home near Paris to celebrate it, because of many known friends involved in the MSL mission... and also because, in France, we share the ChemCam experiment with the USA. Long life to MSL / Curiosity !
As we used to say in France : BRAVO to the MSL Team and CHAMPAGNE !!!
Click to view attachment
Oersted
QUOTE (climber @ Nov 26 2011, 05:07 PM) *
Oppy, here I come !
Waiting for post launch conference now!


Waiting for that, when will it be? - Soon? - On NASATV they have a "tweetup" atm...
climber
QUOTE (Oersted @ Nov 26 2011, 05:34 PM) *
Waiting for that, when will it be? - Soon? - On NASATV they have a "tweetup" atm...

They said 2 to 3 hours after launch!!! Guess they were much precise on MSL trajectory tongue.gif

Edited: got the answer! It'be at 18.30 eastern today in another 10 mn!
DEChengst
They just started showing the title card for the post-launch news conference, so I'll guess it will start in a few minutes.

EDIT: Starting right now.

EDIT2: Not much news. Trajectory right on the money. Two way communications established. All temperatures and voltages where they should be.
sgendreau
EDIT2: Not much news.


No news is good news for a long while now, I guess. Counting down till August 6!
dmg
Anyone know why the telemetry pickup from the launch vehicle via TDRS was so spotty?
MarsEngineer
No news is good news indeed!

We are watching cruise stage temps (most look great) - we had to turn one heater off because it was getting a tad warm. A few other things we are watching and learning about. Nothing like real telemetry. Otherwise very boring! Boring is good.

I am happy that everything is so darn nominal (knocks on wood). I am getting the "shift handover' summary from the ops flight director now. Nominal. Nominal. Nominal. (even the word makes me sleepy.) (But I am getting off-nomially sick of too many peanuts. Normally we have one jar but today there were at least three being passed around the cruise MSA. )

We will try to keep things boring until Aug. We still have oh so much to do - Test the final EDL flight software, test/finish the final surface software, there are more bugs still to uncover no doubt.

We may do the spin down to 2 rpm tomorrow (per "nominal" plan - that word again). Still talking about it. May want to wait for the temps to settle down first.We will have to do TCM-1 one of these days (first trajectory correction maneuver). We have weeks but it would be great to get it done sooner than later. Lots of cruise checkouts to do too.

Did you enjoy that launch as much as I did? It is very surreal to see stuff that you have had your hands on being pushed up and up into the sky like that, knowing it is not likely to return to Earth any time soon.

By the way, perhaps someone has mentioned this, Peter and I had your miniaturized names and signatures put on the back of the rover (next to the camera targets). If you were a Martian with very very good eyes you would be able read 12 million names and many thousands of signatures simply by leaning over the rover and reading.



-Rob
climber
Tanks Rob, I was browsing like mad to get any news first hand... And here you are, always keen to inform us! I get very excited during final pool when I heard Peter T saying "Spacecraft's Go"! Very emotional indeed!
Thanks again...and now I know where's the best place to get those so great boring news!
MERovingian
Bravo to all the teams involved, JPL, ULA, NASA, KSC and thanks for a beautiful day!!

From now on, I will let my nails grow in expectation of the Mars landing next August; the last EDLs I remember - close to eight years ago- I ate them all the way to the blood.
Pando
QUOTE (MarsEngineer @ Nov 26 2011, 02:51 PM) *
No news is good news indeed!
...
Did you enjoy that launch as much as I did? It is very surreal to see stuff that you have had your hands on being pushed up and up into the sky like that, knowing it is not likely to return to Earth any time soon.
-Rob


Thanks for the insider info; it's a fantastic day to see a next gen rover being launched successfully and on its way to Mars.

Next August is going to be really exciting.

I just hope you guys removed the lens cap before launch...
nprev
Rob, thanks very much for taking the trouble during this busy time to give us this peek! smile.gif

Go have one on me after the shift, and may the next 8.5 months be boring indeed!!!
Explorer1
Actually the last EDL was in 2008 with the Phoenix; though that wasn't a rover though right? wink.gif
Oersted
QUOTE (MarsEngineer @ Nov 26 2011, 10:51 PM) *
Did you enjoy that launch as much as I did? It is very surreal to see stuff that you have had your hands on being pushed up and up into the sky like that, knowing it is not likely to return to Earth any time soon.


I sat in my apartment in Brussels, Belgium, rooting animatedly for MSL and eating too many peanuts while my pregnant wife Sandra watched TV, slightly bemused. Our girl will be born in late March next year, if all goes well, and I am hoping that she and MSL will share parallel journeys of discovery on neighbouring planets in this solar system of ours.

I cannot imagine a better example of what's best about humanity to show to her, through her childhood and hopefully adolescence. Science, cooperation, a quest for knowledge: All these good traits that can be summed up in one word, Curiosity, are what I want to hold up to my daughter as an example of what to strive for.

So, yes, you can say that emotionally I have a lot riding on Curiosity.

I feel privileged to be vicariously part of the ride and now look forward to a quiet and relaxing cruise stage while I, personally, reach other deadlines here on Earth... smile.gif
Oersted
I uploaded footage of the launch and spacecraft separation for those who might not have been able to see it...

http://www.youtube.com/user/wwwDOTdalsgaar...4/0/qOJqDNp2afE

http://www.youtube.com/user/wwwDOTdalsgaar...4/1/k9xpePuiqA8
Syrinx
Thank you sir for the videos. I was unable to watch this morning due to my Texas -> California launch on a Boeing first stage.
tanjent
I'm having some trouble with "data dropouts" myself while trying to view the videos - I wanted to review the telemetry data on the evolution of perigee and apogee during the second Centaur burn, because the first time through I did not understand what I was seeing. My recollection is that after a steady increase the apogee figures dropped abruptly somewhere over Madagascar. This may have simply indicated a move to a higher power of 10 on the display but it was too blurry to be sure. The perigee seemed to be stuck somewhere in the 80's or -80's (couldn't tell if it was a negative sign or a "star" in the simulation). This I really did not understand because it persisted even after the spacecraft was well on its way to Mars. Is it just that after a certain point the perigee ceased to update? Maybe some rocket scientist here can explain how the perigee figure would be expected to evolve if we actually continued to track it as the spacecraft approaches escape velocity. Seems to me both apogee and perigee would eventually have to go to infinity at the point where the vehicle transitions to a solar orbit but when it becomes possible to view the video without a "please try again later" message I am sure it will confirm that this is not what we actually saw.
john_s
I was watching those numbers too. The apogee should have gone infinite when MSL reached escape speed- if I recall correctly it actually went negative on the display, though the moment of reaching escape was missed in the NASA feed because of a cutaway to the launch control center. Perigee however should stay finite- after engine cutoff the the spacecraft was on a hyperbolic trajectory relative to the earth, and a hyperbola has a well-defined closest approach point to Earth (perigee). The actual value of perigee could go up or down during the burn depending on the burn direction- theoretically I suppose it could end up below the Earth's surface, though it would probably not be fuel-efficient to bend the trajectory in that direction.

John
tanjent
OK - I bet it actually finds the perigee by looking backwards along its escape hyperbola, and naturally that would intersect the earth at some point. Got it, I think!
MahFL
The separation video was just awesome, although I did not know the back side of the cruise stage was covered with solar panels, so I was a bit unsure of what exactly I was looking at, but it looked fantastic.
OKB001
QUOTE (MahFL @ Nov 26 2011, 08:49 PM) *
The separation video was just awesome, although I did not know the back side of the cruise stage was covered with solar panels, so I was a bit unsure of what exactly I was looking at, but it looked fantastic.


It sure did. Although, I was hoping for a bit more live feed from the onboard cameras during the flight ... oh well.
kwan3217
(Full inline quote removed- Mod)

The apogee for a perfect parabola is infinite, but if you run the formulas to find the perigee and apogee of an ellipse, on a hyperbola, you will get the correct perigee but a finite, negative apogee. Obviously a distance can never be negative (you can never be closer to me than at my same position, with zero distance) but you can run all the formulas in reverse with this negative apogee and get the correct position and velocity of the spacecraft.

Which brings me to my second point: There is in theory enough information in the elements to get the position and velocity of the spacecraft during the burns, if they are all consistent. One thing I don't know is how they handle "altitude". A really common way to do it is to take the radius distance from the center and subtract the equatorial radius of the Earth, but since the Earth is not a perfect sphere, this would result in a negative altitude at launch. So I don't know what you have to add to get back the radius vector, and it may be two different things for different altitudes. I remember seeing one of these simulations where the altitude wasn't in between periapse and apoapse.

Back to the original point: Since the apogee took one value and stuck with it after escape velocity was achieved, maybe they just put in some fill value, like -9999999 meters, and translated it to nautical miles. In which case, after escape, the orbital elements become insufficient to reconstruct position and velocity.
tanjent
Well, the altitude should be directly observable by the spacecraft avionics with no mathematical projection required. But you may be right, Kwan, because, as you mentioned, there were periods during the second burn when it seemed to be decreasing. I took this to mean that we were accelerating towards the Mars transfer orbit along a path that initially was sub-tangential to the curvature of the earth. Really, I wish I could see the telemetry readout again without having to watch those tiny blurry numbers in the corner of the simulation video. Dmuller should write them a little package that could run independently in its own window!
scalbers
QUOTE (kwan3217 @ Nov 27 2011, 03:23 PM) *
Back to the original point: Since the apogee took one value and stuck with it after escape velocity was achieved, maybe they just put in some fill value, like -9999999 meters, and translated it to nautical miles. In which case, after escape, the orbital elements become insufficient to reconstruct position and velocity.

Yes those numbers were fascinating. I assumed we just had one look at the numbers after the orbit went hyperbolic (eccentricity > 1). It seemed a reasonable value of negative apogee for a hyperbolic orbit. Osculating orbital elements of course can always be converted to an instantaneous position and velocity. I wrote a FORTRAN subroutine a long time ago that does this conversion - at least for heliocentric orbits.

I wonder what the earth-relative velocity and eccentricity values were when the engines cut off? It takes about 3.2 km/sec delta-V to go from low-Earth orbit to reach escape velocity (11.3 km/sec). Another 0.6 km/sec or so is needed to get to a Mars transfer orbit, though it looks from this press-kit excerpt that the actual excess velocity is more like 3.3 km/sec.

Orbit at SC Separation
Perigee: 104.0 km
Inclination: 35.5 deg
Hyperbolic Departure
Hyperbolic Excess Velocity Squared (C3): 10.78 km2/sec2
Declination of the Launch Asymtote (DLA): -1.10 deg
Right Ascention of the Launch Asymtote (RLA): 126.6 deg

Approximate Values
Orbit parameters shown for launch on 25 Nov 2011 at 10:25 a.m. EST.

And the following velocity equation from Wikipedia can help get back the semimajor axis, and then the eccentricity:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliptic_orbit

Steve
Astro0
A little late to the party I guess. My weekend was very busy with our very first NASA-style Tweetup at the CanberraDSN.
A large group watched the launch on our big screen (at 2.02am!) and then headed out to watch our antennas acquire the spacecraft shortly after its separation and the beginning of its cruise to Mars.

A few hours later I headed back out into the light of dawn and snapped this panorama of our dishes at work.
Click to view attachment

That's DSS34 on the left tracking Curiosity; DSS43 in the middle tracking Mars Odyssey and MRO (warning them that's something is on its way); and just past the rainbow on the right is DSS45, which was the prime antenna for the acquisition and also tracking Curiosity when this photo was taken. Note: it may look as if DSS34 and DSS45 are pointing in opposite directions but wrap that panorama around and they are pointing the same way.
Oersted
Oh, a rainbow to boot! Lovely panorama and thanks for the explanation about the various antennas.
MarsEngineer
QUOTE (Astro0 @ Nov 27 2011, 02:05 PM) *
A little late to the party I guess. My weekend was very busy with our very first NASA-style Tweetup at the CanberraDSN.
A large group watched the launch on our big screen (at 2.02am!) and then headed out to watch our antennas acquire the spacecraft shortly after its separation and the beginning of its cruise to Mars.

A few hours later I headed back out into the light of dawn and snapped this panorama of our dishes at work.
Click to view attachment

That's DSS34 on the left tracking Curiosity; DSS43 in the middle tracking Mars Odyssey and MRO (warning them that's something is on its way); and just past the rainbow on the right is DSS45, which was the prime antenna for the acquisition and also tracking Curiosity when this photo was taken. Note: it may look as if DSS34 and DSS45 are pointing in opposite directions but wrap that panorama around and they are pointing the same way.


Hi Astro0,

Would you mind if I shared this with the MSL gang here at JPL? They would LOVE it! (I did) Who shall I give credit?

-Rob Manning (MSL chief engineer)
MarsEngineer
Hi all,

Please take a look at the observations made by Duncan Waldron (of the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia).

Images and a movie of the Centaur upper stage venting and (remarkably MSL just after separation) from yesterday's launch:

http://www.facebook.com/BrisbanePlanetarium

Amazing. I shared it with our team here too.

-Rob
nprev
ohmy.gif ...words utterly fail me. Just remarkable.

Many thanks for posting this, Rob!
eoincampbell
WOW! Thanks for sharing another "Heimdall" moment ohmy.gif
tanjent
Quote: http://www.facebook.com/BrisbanePlanetarium

"Other than observations by Brisbane Planetarium staff on Sunday, no other reports have been received of observations of the Mars Science Laboratory, Centaur rocket stage and plume thousands of kilometres out from Earth. Looks like only three of us saw this unique sight. Timings - Curator Mark Rigby (whose camera plays up!) first sees the plume at 2:15am and it is like a one-degree elongated cloud of VERY easy naked eye brightness. Duncan Waldron sees it about 2:30pm and begins photography as it fades. Nonetheless, he captures a unique timelapse covering 21 minutes until 3am"

Sounds familiar. I believe I saw New Horizons off from a similar vantage point. See post 460 in the NH launch thread. (That will remain forever unconfirmed, but it's still interesting to know that these things can be naked-eye visible at such distances.)

http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.p...2050&st=450
Oersted
That is an amazing timelapse!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA9U9TZZ4nc...player_embedded
Oersted
On my youtube page of MSL launch movies I am getting some questions. I have managed to answer two of them, but I need an answer for the third, which I interpret as "cruise speed of MSL"... Could someone in here maybe help me with the answer?

http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=k9xpePuiqA8

"pl inside earth gravity how maney km/h speed?" - I replied 11,2 km/s, which I believe is more or less the correct the escape velocity.

"after psssing gravity how maney km/h?" - Hmmm...

"when msl will reach mars?" - I replied August 2012.
Greg Hullender
QUOTE (Oersted @ Nov 28 2011, 07:10 AM) *
"after psssing gravity how maney km/h?" - Hmmm...

I think he wants to know the hyperbolic excess velocity.

--Greg
kwan3217
(Full inline quote removed- Mod)

The guys at JPL SSD (that do the Horizons ephemeris program) got the spice kernel for a projected launch at what happened to be the actual launch time, 26 Nov at start of window. Since the launch was accurate (<0.1 sigma) this is probably pretty good. You can't get the kernel from them, but you can run Horizons and get any form of vectors or elements you want, which may be even better than a kernel.

Earth departure according to the kernel:
Kernel starts at 2011-NOV-26 15:52:12.3830 CT (not UTC, about a minute difference. UTC is 2011-11-26T15:51:06.200 at kernel start)
Periapse was 798.736 seconds before this, 13m18.736 seconds, so periapse was at 2011-Nov-26 15:38:53.647 CT (15:37:47.464 UTC)
Periapse distance: 6572.438km from the center of the Earth, or about 194km altitude
Eccentricity: 1.17677
From this, velocity at periapse was 11.490km/s. This was 476m/s above escape speed at this altitude. Hyperbolic excess speed (v_inf, eventual speed of departure from Earth) is 3.274km/s, for a C3 of 10.721

Spaceflightnow reported centaur main engine start 2 at 32:40 MET (15:34:40 UTC) and cutoff at 40:30 MET(15:42:30 UTC) so theoretical periapse is during the centaur burn, which is kind of as expected.

The second burn also was used to increase the inclination, so it was not purely in plane. The parking orbit was something like 28deg inclination, while departure was at 34.5deg. This is weird, since you should be able to launch at an azimuth such that no plane change is needed in the second burn.
Roby72
Here you could see Curiosity 10 hours 30 minutes after launch - taken by Austrian amateur Gerhard Dangl:

http://www.dangl.at/2011/msl/msl.htm

Video here:
http://www.dangl.at/2011/msl/msl.avi

very good result in my opinion !

Robert
Bobby
Question? Is there a site either through JPL or another place that shows where MSL is now. A tracking site showing location. I can't seem to find one.

Thanks.
punkboi
http://space.jpl.nasa.gov/

MSL's position should eventually be posted on this page

EDIT: And this page as well:

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/mission/whereistherovernow/
Astro0
As usual, Eyes on the Solar System can take us all on a ride throughout MSL's cruise phase.

From the Twitter site:
Preliminary @MarsCuriosity trajectory is in. http://1.usa.gov/tU6T8m to ride onboard looking back at Earth http://twitpic.com/7lqw60

TIP: If you haven't used Eyes on the Solar System - DO SO!
Note: You will need to download the Unity player plug-in for your browser (it'll tell you if you haven't already got it).
Explorer1
Is the cruise stage's spin in real-time?
Great attention to detail if so!
MahFL
Don't forget, the whole Rover is spinning....lol. Thankfully she does not have a human "brain".
MahFL
I am not sure how accurate the model is but it looks like there is only one thruster jet on the cruise stage for course corrections, I would have thought 2 would be more reliable.
ilbasso
Should we bring her back for repairs? rolleyes.gif
MahFL
I just read that the hand lens imager can take pics and movies of the rover it'self, even when driving, and can infact reach higher than the Mastcam, that will be so cool to see.
pospa
Also VERY cool would be any MAHLI picture from inside of the spacecraft during the cruise phase ... as was done with Phoenix RAC camera.
Do we know if MSL team has intention to do such a test shot?
climber
You can even dream of a shot of Spacecraft separation as seen from the spacecraft tongue.gif
ElkGroveDan
The next images we'll see from MSL will likely be from MARDI.
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