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  Recovery Phase

For planning purposes, the Genesis team refers to the final 30 days of flight — from Aug. 9 to Sept. 8, 2004 — as the recovery phase of the mission. The location of the landing footprint for the Genesis capsule will be predicted by tracking the spacecraft before the capsule's release. Since the capsule does not have a propulsion system, there is no way to abort the entry sequence following its release.

Entry phase of Genesis capsule
Entry Phase of Genesis Capsule
Artist rendering of capsule being released from spacecraft

Mission navigators targeted the capsule to hit a "keyhole" at the top of Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of 125 kilometers (410,000 feet) on September 8 at 9:55 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT). This elliptical-shaped keyhole 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) long and 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) wide is over the Pacific Ocean. If the capsule entered the atmosphere anywhere inside this keyhole, it will come down over the designated spot on the Utah Test & Training Range.

At about 2 a.m. MDT Sept. 8, the Genesis team conducted one final teleconference to discuss the status of the spacecraft's trajectory. After receiving a "go," they radioed the spacecraft to start executing a series of commands to release the sample return capsule. button
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Curator: Aimee Meyer
Updated: November 2009

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