Author Topic: LIVE: Atlas V 421 - MMS - March 12/13, 2015 (02:44 UTC/10:44 pm Eastern)  (Read 77741 times)

Offline satwatcher

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Great to hear some of you were able to see the CCAM and fueldump! Thanks for those.

Some pictures are also up at http://spaceweathergallery.com/index.html.

Offline jacqmans

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March 13, 2015


NASA Spacecraft in Earth’s Orbit, Preparing to Study Magnetic Reconnection

   
Following a successful launch at 10:44 p.m. EDT Thursday, NASA’s four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft are positioned in Earth’s orbit to begin the first space mission dedicated to the study of a phenomenon called magnetic reconnection. This process is thought to be the catalyst for some of the most powerful explosions in our solar system.

The spacecraft, positioned one on top of the other on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 421 rocket, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. After reaching orbit, each spacecraft deployed from the rocket’s upper stage sequentially, in five-minute increments, beginning at 12:16 a.m. Friday, with the last separation occurring at 12:31 a.m. NASA scientists and engineers were able to confirm the health of all separated spacecraft at 12:40 a.m.

"I am speaking for the entire MMS team when I say we’re thrilled to see all four of our spacecraft have deployed and data indicates we have a healthy fleet,” said Craig Tooley, project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
 
Over the next several weeks, NASA scientists and engineers will deploy booms and antennas on the spacecraft, and test all instruments. The observatories will later be placed into a pyramid formation in preparation for science observations, which are expected to begin in early September.

“After a decade of planning and engineering, the science team is ready to go to work,” said Jim Burch, principal investigator for the MMS instrument suite science team at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio (SwRI). “We’ve never had this type of opportunity to study this fundamental process in such detail.”

The mission will provide the first three-dimensional views of reconnection occurring in Earth's protective magnetic space environment, the magnetosphere. Magnetic reconnection occurs when magnetic fields connect, disconnect, and reconfigure explosively, releasing bursts of energy that can reach the order of billions of megatons of trinitrotoluene (commonly known as TNT). These explosions can send particles surging through space near the speed of light.

Scientists expect the mission will not only help them better understand magnetic reconnection, but also will provide insight into these powerful events, which can disrupt modern technological systems such as communications networks, GPS navigation, and electrical power grids.

By studying reconnection in this local, natural laboratory, scientists can understand the process elsewhere, such as in the atmosphere of the sun and other stars, in the vicinity of black holes and neutron stars, and at the boundary between our solar system's heliosphere and interstellar space.
 
The spacecraft will fly in a tight formation through regions of reconnection activity. Using sensors designed to measure the space environment at rates100 times faster than any previous mission.

“MMS is a crucial next step in advancing the science of magnetic reconnection – and no mission has ever observed this fundamental process with such detail,” said Jeff Newmark, interim director for NASA’s Heliophysics Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “The depth and detail of our knowledge is going to grow by leaps and bounds, in ways that no one can yet predict.”

MMS is the fourth mission in the NASA Solar Terrestrial Probes Program. Goddard built, integrated and tested the four MMS spacecraft and is responsible for overall mission management and operations. The principal investigator for the MMS instrument suite science team is based at the SwRI. Science operations planning and instrument commanding are performed at the MMS Science Operations Center at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. 



More information about the MMS mission is available at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mms

Offline input~2

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4 more objects have been catalogued (could be the 4 S/C)

2015-011A/40482 in 545 x 69976 km @ 28.82°
2015-011B/40483 in 524 x 69918 km @ 28.74°
2015-011C/40484 in 546 x 70082 km @ 28.89°
2015-011D/40485 in 540 x 70077 km @ 28.96°

Offline John44

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Offline Helodriver

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Nothing yet in Boston, a bit haxy, but should be in earth shadow. Has blow down occured?

Helodriver, excellent eyes!

I truly expected nothing, but the NASA-TV coverage showed that the ground track was going to come right overhead so I went outside. I was looking more southerly when the flash and outgassing happened nearly directly above. I wish I'd brought a camera out, it was a very visible event and would have photographed well. Watching the cloud diffuse and surround Jupiter was a cool bonus.

From the Spaceweather site, someone did get a shot of what I saw when the Centaur passed overhead California. This venting happened about right around the time of first MMS spacecraft deployment.


The bright "star" to the left is Jupiter and the cloud passed directly in front of it before dissipating.

Offline WHAP

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Nothing yet in Boston, a bit haxy, but should be in earth shadow. Has blow down occured?

Helodriver, excellent eyes!

I truly expected nothing, but the NASA-TV coverage showed that the ground track was going to come right overhead so I went outside. I was looking more southerly when the flash and outgassing happened nearly directly above. I wish I'd brought a camera out, it was a very visible event and would have photographed well. Watching the cloud diffuse and surround Jupiter was a cool bonus.

From the Spaceweather site, someone did get a shot of what I saw when the Centaur passed overhead California. This venting happened about right around the time of first MMS spacecraft deployment.


The bright "star" to the left is Jupiter and the cloud passed directly in front of it before dissipating.

If the statement in bold is correct, you're seeing the RCS plume from the spin up.  Centaur does not perform other venting during spacecraft separation events.
ULA employee.  My opinions do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

Offline PahTo

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Late to the game, but I too went outside at L+2h7m and watched from Jupiter SE to the horizon and didn't see any pluming.  Nice evening though, and the most important thing is how successful the launch and deployment were.  Congrats to all the teams, and to NASA TV for the great coverage.  Wow!

Online northenarc

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 Congrats to all involved, it was a beautiful launch. Had to sleep before the payload was released, so good to see all went well.

Online ZachS09

What a launch it was. I'm impressed.
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital-class rocket."

Offline Artyom.

My congratulations!

MMS Spacecraft Separates from Centaur


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Online ZachS09

My congratulations!

MMS Spacecraft Separates from Centaur




My "third rocketcam" prediction is correct! I knew NASA would show this feed!
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital-class rocket."

Offline catdlr

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Other Launch Views:
Closeup Atlas V / MMS Launch Mobius Actioncam Northeast of the Launch Pad
BY: Matthew Travis / Zero-G News
Published on Mar 13, 2015
Closeup Atlas V / MMS Launch Mobius Actioncam Northeast of the Launch Pad

Tony De La Rosa

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My congratulations!

MMS Spacecraft Separates from Centaur




was waiting for this video...well done all ;)
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Online ZachS09

Other Launch Views:
Closeup Atlas V / MMS Launch Mobius Actioncam Northeast of the Launch Pad
BY: Matthew Travis / Zero-G News
Published on Mar 13, 2015
Closeup Atlas V / MMS Launch Mobius Actioncam Northeast of the Launch Pad



This camera could make a great shot for a future launch should an IMAX movie based on the specific mission be made.
"Liftoff of Falcon 9: the world's first reflight of an orbital-class rocket."

Offline jacqmans

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Orbital ATK Supports Exploration of Earth's Magnetosphere 

Orbital ATK Flight, Defense and Space Technologies Help Launch NASA MMS Satellites

(Dulles, Virginia 13 March 2015) – Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, provided critical hardware for the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V vehicle that launched four, first-of-their-kind NASA satellites last night from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

NASA’s MMS (Magnetospheric Multiscale) is a Solar Terrestrial Probes program comprising four identically instrumented satellites that will use Earth’s magnetosphere as a laboratory to study the microphysics of three fundamental plasma processes of space weather occurring in near-Earth space: magnetic reconnection, energetic particle acceleration and turbulence. These processes can interfere with GPS signals and radio communications and cause excess radiation, forcing airlines to divert their flight paths. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, designed and built the MMS satellites and will also be responsible for mission operations.

“Witnessing yet another successful launch of an Atlas V serves as a reminder of how much Orbital ATK values our partnerships with ULA and NASA,” said Ron Grabe, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “Our highly engineered composite and control products play an important role in ensuring dependable access to space and affordable innovation for our customers.”

Orbital ATK produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield, which provides essential protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle. The assembly was fabricated using advanced fiber placement manufacturing techniques at the company’s Iuka, Mississippi, facility. This is the 53rd Atlas V launch using Orbital ATK-built composite structures. This flight also marked the 18th successful flight of the Orbital ATK retro motors. Eight of these solid motors supported separation of the spent first stage. The Atlas V retrorocket is built by Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group at its facility in Elkton, Maryland. The ULA Atlas V rocket flew in the 421 vehicle configuration.

For the NASA MMS satellites, Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group built the observatory decks, spacecraft decks and bulkhead support panels at its Beltsville, Maryland, facility. The company delivered the aluminum honeycomb structural panels directly to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Offline catdlr

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Atlas V / MMS Launch Multiple Multiple Isolated Remote Camera Views

Published on Mar 14, 2015
Atlas V / MMS Launch Multiple Multiple Isolated Remote Camera Views

Tony De La Rosa

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From MMS on Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/MagMultiScale?fref=nf

All 8 Magnetometer Booms were successfully deployed today!
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Prober

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From MMS on Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/MagMultiScale?fref=nf

All 8 Magnetometer Booms were successfully deployed today!


Too bad its not fully operational as we have a G4 storm
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Online ZachS09

From MMS on Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/MagMultiScale?fref=nf

All 8 Magnetometer Booms were successfully deployed today!


Too bad its not fully operational as we have a G4 storm

What is a G4 storm? I never studied the magentosphere once in my life.
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Offline kevin-rf

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It means you have a very, very good chance of seeing the northern lights. This is the strongest storm of the current solar cycle.
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