Genesis Spacecraft Doing Well
10 Aug 2001
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Two days after launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., the Genesis mission continues to proceed exceedingly well.
Since the spacecraft's signal was acquired by a Deep Space Network ground station at Goldstone, Calif., at 10:38 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, Aug. 8, the mission team has continued to monitor the status of spacecraft subsystems. All of them are performing normally. Ground controllers established a two-way communication link between Genesis and Earth, enabling the navigation team to start collecting data to assess the spacecraft's flight path.
Genesis' flight path was adjusted successfully today at about 10:21 a.m. PDT. The small thrusters burned for 53.5 seconds. This moved the spacecraft about 5.2 meters per second (11.6 miles per hour) into a path to reach the Lagrange 1, or L1, point, where the gravities of the Sun and Earth are balanced. Genesis will reach L1 in November 2001. The navigation team expects to be able to determine by Monday how to modify the spacecraft's flight path during the next adjustment in early September.
Among various housekeeping events just after launch, the team commanded the spacecraft to transmit to Earth and brought the spacecraft out of safe mode. Safe mode is a standby state used to keep the spacecraft dormant during launch. Genesis has now communicated with all three of NASA's Deep Space Network stations - in Goldstone, Calif.; Canberra, Australia; and Madrid, Spain.
The team also commanded Genesis to spin at its normal rate, 1.6 revolutions per minute.
Genesis will collect pieces of the Sun called solar wind to help scientists better understand our solar system's development.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Genesis mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colo., designed and built the spacecraft and will operate it jointly with JPL. Major portions of the payload design and fabrication were carried out at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.