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(Ars Technica)   NASA's next Mars rover has now burned nearly half of its launch window   (arstechnica.com) divider line
    More: Sad, Mars, Launch vehicle, launch of its multibillion-dollar Perseverance mission, Rocket, Mars-bound large rover, Atlas V rocket, NASA, launch campaign  
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1149 clicks; posted to Geek » on 30 Jun 2020 at 11:54 PM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



22 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2020-06-30 10:12:05 PM  
Help us,SpaceX. You're our only hope.
 
2020-07-01 12:04:36 AM  
I'm still getting over last year's official death of Opportunity. I was on a random project related to its early days (first 90 sols of it/Spirit, all way through about a year). The work on it helped me get into grad school which I might not have without that little rover's help. I will always pay my respects to the pair and Mars rover projects
 
2020-07-01 12:05:52 AM  
ULA issue.

And no, you can't just switch to an F9, even if one was available today.
 
2020-07-01 12:28:28 AM  

fat boy: Help us,SpaceX. You're our only hope.


As the other person said.  It is too late to change launch providers.  Even ignoring the legal work of breaking the contract, integrating the spacecraft to a rocket is not something that can be done on the fly.  Not to mention that SpaceX has lots of stuff to launch already.

ULA might be overpriced, but they do have a well-deserved reputation for getting the job done.  A failure to launch would be really unusual for them.  And the company has never had a "boom."  So let not count them out yet.  Of course if they do miss the launch window, it will not be good for them to say the least as reliability is their big selling point.
 
2020-07-01 12:44:56 AM  
We've come a long way from Mercury/ Redstone. A launch window getting kicked a few days almost a month out? That says something.
 
2020-07-01 1:00:38 AM  
"A liquid-oxygen sensor line presented off-nominal data during the Wet Dress Rehearsal, and additional time is needed for the team to inspect and evaluate,"

Smart idea to find the problem now, and not risk having the "Check Engine" light on the whole way to Mars.
 
2020-07-01 1:05:52 AM  
You suck, ULA, when you're supposed to blow.
 
2020-07-01 1:06:46 AM  

studebaker hoch: "A liquid-oxygen sensor line presented off-nominal data during the Wet Dress Rehearsal, and additional time is needed for the team to inspect and evaluate,"

Smart idea to find the problem now, and not risk having the "Check Engine" light on the whole way to Mars.


Have they tried adjusting the gas cap?
 
2020-07-01 1:38:14 AM  

fat boy: Help us,SpaceX. You're our only hope.


Naw. Launching to Mars is a high energy trajectory; and Falcon rapidly loses performance due to not having a hydrolox upper stage. You'd need a Falcon Heavy to beat the Atlas V performance; and while it might be possible to procure one from a 'laws of physics don't prevent it' standpoint, you'd be better off trying to strap on another SRB and launching on an Atlas 551. Still would probably be completely infeasible. 4 weeks is a very short time to change a vehicle configuration and flight profile.
 
2020-07-01 2:04:33 AM  
Still doing better than Apollo 1.
 
2020-07-01 2:09:02 AM  

studebaker hoch: "A liquid-oxygen sensor line presented off-nominal data during the Wet Dress Rehearsal, and additional time is needed for the team to inspect and evaluate,"

Smart idea to find the problem now, and not risk having the "Check Engine" light on the whole way to Mars.


Sometimes, if you flick it with you finger it will go out.  My RAV4 Check Engine light came on and I paid to have the thing that needed fixing fixed, then the light came back on like 4 days later.  Stupid light.
 
2020-07-01 2:32:35 AM  

TheManofPA: I'm still getting over last year's official death of Opportunity. I was on a random project related to its early days (first 90 sols of it/Spirit, all way through about a year). The work on it helped me get into grad school which I might not have without that little rover's help. I will always pay my respects to the pair and Mars rover projects


If it makes you feel any better, Curiosity is now "older" than Spirit, and is halfway caught up to Opportunity. Perseverance is of similar construction, and also has a pretty good chance of outliving both MER vehicles.
 
2020-07-01 8:05:50 AM  

unbelver: ULA issue.

And no, you can't just switch to an F9, even if one was available today.


True, It would need a Falcon Heavy for sure.
 
2020-07-01 8:23:18 AM  
FTA: If the Perseverance mission misses this launch window, it would be delayed 26 months, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, until the next Earth-Mars conjunction in 2022.

I get that a clean room isn't a Shurgard and that you can't just lock it up for 26 months without checking up on it. Any liquids (coolants? lube? haven't actually checked what it packs) might need to be drained and replaced because they weren't meant for long-term storage in Earth conditions. But hundreds of millions? Does it need monthly rust coatings in our atmosphere? Semi-serious question actually, I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

Or are they referring to contractual compensation for missing the deadline?
 
2020-07-01 9:54:27 AM  

tedthebellhopp: unbelver: ULA issue.

And no, you can't just switch to an F9, even if one was available today.

True, It would need a Falcon Heavy for sure.


Would it?  What if you were willing to sacrifice the booster instead of bringing it back?  That essentially doubles the throw weight.

Spacex says Falcon 9 can send 4,020 kg to Mars.
https://www.spacex.com/vehicles/falco​n​-9/

I'm going to assume that's if they burn all the fuel/oxidizer available and don't attempt to recover the booster.


Launch mass for Perseverance is just 1,025 kg:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseve​r​ance_(rover)

Which leaves up to 2,995 kg for the things you need to mate the rover to the rocket, slow it down at Mars, protect it from reentry, etc.   That seems relatively doable.

Obviously, you couldn't turn around and do this on a whim, but I think if it was planned from the start, it would be possible.
 
2020-07-01 10:56:35 AM  

turboke: FTA: If the Perseverance mission misses this launch window, it would be delayed 26 months, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, until the next Earth-Mars conjunction in 2022.

I get that a clean room isn't a Shurgard and that you can't just lock it up for 26 months without checking up on it. Any liquids (coolants? lube? haven't actually checked what it packs) might need to be drained and replaced because they weren't meant for long-term storage in Earth conditions. But hundreds of millions? Does it need monthly rust coatings in our atmosphere? Semi-serious question actually, I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

Or are they referring to contractual compensation for missing the deadline?


A good portion of the storage cost probably has to do with the RTG and radioisotope heaters. Those will probably have to be dismounted and stored and kept cool in a suitably secure facility.
 
2020-07-01 12:12:53 PM  

ChiliBoots: turboke: FTA: If the Perseverance mission misses this launch window, it would be delayed 26 months, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, until the next Earth-Mars conjunction in 2022.

I get that a clean room isn't a Shurgard and that you can't just lock it up for 26 months without checking up on it. Any liquids (coolants? lube? haven't actually checked what it packs) might need to be drained and replaced because they weren't meant for long-term storage in Earth conditions. But hundreds of millions? Does it need monthly rust coatings in our atmosphere? Semi-serious question actually, I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

Or are they referring to contractual compensation for missing the deadline?

A good portion of the storage cost probably has to do with the RTG and radioisotope heaters. Those will probably have to be dismounted and stored and kept cool in a suitably secure facility.


I don't think they have to be dismounted, and cooling them isn't an issue because they are designed to be self-cooling by radiation alone (ie., no convection or conduction).

But you do have to keep them in a facility secure enough that you don't have to worry about terrorists or anti-nuke protestors.  That's a significant cost right there.
 
2020-07-01 1:04:14 PM  

Flt209er: You'd need a Falcon Heavy to beat the Atlas V performance


We owe Russia a big thanks for providing the RD-180 main engine that makes the Atlas V possible.

And for Sputnik, which created precedent for satellite overflights of other countries.

And for providing an excuse for the Apollo Program.

And for pissing off Elon Musk to the point where he created SpaceX.
 
2020-07-01 1:29:56 PM  
 
2020-07-01 3:02:11 PM  

Flt209er: TheManofPA: I'm still getting over last year's official death of Opportunity. I was on a random project related to its early days (first 90 sols of it/Spirit, all way through about a year). The work on it helped me get into grad school which I might not have without that little rover's help. I will always pay my respects to the pair and Mars rover projects

If it makes you feel any better, Curiosity is now "older" than Spirit, and is halfway caught up to Opportunity. Perseverance is of similar construction, and also has a pretty good chance of outliving both MER vehicles.


On one end, it does because Curiosity is a cool looking machine. On the other end it doesn't because holy crap, it has almost been 8 years since landing. I guess because of how I think of Spirit/Opportunity as the past, it feels like Curiousity is just a baby that is still brand new and barely getting going on its mission. So I lvoe that it is going strong but man do I feel old knowing that it is 8 years on Mars next month
 
2020-07-01 4:03:33 PM  

dittybopper: tedthebellhopp: unbelver: ULA issue.

And no, you can't just switch to an F9, even if one was available today.

True, It would need a Falcon Heavy for sure.

Would it?  What if you were willing to sacrifice the booster instead of bringing it back?  That essentially doubles the throw weight.

Spacex says Falcon 9 can send 4,020 kg to Mars.
https://www.spacex.com/vehicles/falcon​-9/

I'm going to assume that's if they burn all the fuel/oxidizer available and don't attempt to recover the booster.


Launch mass for Perseverance is just 1,025 kg:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persever​ance_(rover)

Which leaves up to 2,995 kg for the things you need to mate the rover to the rocket, slow it down at Mars, protect it from reentry, etc.   That seems relatively doable.

Obviously, you couldn't turn around and do this on a whim, but I think if it was planned from the start, it would be possible.


While the payload numbers look good I dont know if F9 can handle the launch profile and it might require the flight be redesigned.  I also suspect Perserverence is designed to be stacked vertically which the F9 and Heavy are not capable of. Also, neither has ever been to mars while the Atlas has plenty of experience beyond earth orbit. So possible but probably unwise.
 
2020-07-02 1:53:12 PM  

fat boy: Help us,SpaceX. You're our only hope.


It almost certainly can't fly the Falcon.  SpaceX uses horizontal integration, the Atlas uses vertical integration.  A satellite designed for vertical integration can't survive horizontal integration.

turboke: I get that a clean room isn't a Shurgard and that you can't just lock it up for 26 months without checking up on it. Any liquids (coolants? lube? haven't actually checked what it packs) might need to be drained and replaced because they weren't meant for long-term storage in Earth conditions. But hundreds of millions? Does it need monthly rust coatings in our atmosphere? Semi-serious question actually, I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

Or are they referring to contractual compensation for missing the deadline?


It probably needs anoxic storage (it's not meant for being in a humid, oxygen-bearing atmosphere for a long time), the nuclear battery will have used two years off it's life and you have a bunch of people that you don't really want to lay off, but neither do you have anything for them to do.
 
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