Skip to comments.Problem Detected with Voyager 2 Spacecraft at Edge of Solar System
Posted on 05/08/2010 6:33:55 AM PDT by Dallas59
The first hint of a problem came on April 22, when engineers first spotted the data pattern change. Since then, they've been working to fix the glitch and began sending commands back to Voyager 2 on April 30.
Because Voyager 2 is so far from Earth, it takes 13 hours for a message to reach the spacecraft and another 13 hours for responses to come back to NASA's Deep Space Network of listening antennas around the world.
"Voyager 2's initial mission was a four-year journey to Saturn, but it is still returning data 33 years later," said Voyager project scientist Ed Stone of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "It has already given us remarkable views of Uranus and Neptune, planets we had never seen close-up before. We will know soon what it will take for it to continue its epic journey of discovery."
Voyager 2 took a so-called "grand tour" of the solar system when it visited the gas giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in the 1980s by taking advantage of a rare planetary alignment that occurs once every 176 years.
The two space probes were built primarily to study Jupiter and Saturn, but Voyager 2 also swing by Uranus in 1986 and Neptune in 1989 during its extended mission.
NASA launched Voyager 2 on Aug. 20,1977, just two weeks before Voyager 1. Together, the two spacecraft are the most distant human-built objects in space. Voyager 1 is about 10.5 billion miles (16.9 billion km) away from Earth and in perfect health, mission managers said.
“25 years old NASA. NASA now cannot hardly launch a kids rocket....”
And The United States cannot build a FENCE!!
The big question is 'can the politically correct NASA of today match the capabilities of the NASA of 30 years ago?'.
The 8086 hit the market in the summer of 1978. The 8088 in 1978. The computer used by NASA at this time was earlier than these processors. Probably a big mainframe like the Sigma 5 that we used to operate the electric power system in Cleveland, Ohio, up until around 1993 or so.
Oh - slapping self on head - I don’t think it’s a mainframe. :-)
But the Voyager does predate the 8086/8088 a bit. I suspect something a generation or two newer. With carefully-written programming, there’s a lot that can be done with a less powerful processor.
OOps - I mean a generation or two older!
As a message travel at the speed of light it a "Light 13 hours" out...
I assume that most of you have heard the inside story on what REALLY brought down Challenger?
I had a friend at United Technologies at KSC. One of the SRBs (Solid Rocket Boosters) had a hard landing at sea. Morton Thiokol, unawares, refurbished the sections of that SRB and shipped them back to KSC.
The SRB segments are bolted together at KSC. The fasteners are one inch bolts on four inch centers. When they tried to bolt up the damaged SRB sections, the holes would not line up because the casing was slightly elliptical. Some Lockheed engineer had the bright idea of plugging the bolt holes and DRILLING NEW HOLES IN BETWEEN THE HOLES ON THE FOUR INCH CENTERS. The Lockheed guy’s NASA boss got a $10K bonus for saving the SRB segment.
So they removed 33% of the steel between the plugged holes and DID NOT perform a structural analysis on the weakened joint.
Upon ignition the weakened joint ripped open like a perforated sheet of paper. You can see the puff of smoke and later the flame coming out on the famous video.
My friend, a rather quiet fellow, assumed that the investigating commission would see the problem on the drawings. When he heard in the first press conference about the O rings being the culprit, he went to the Commission. They told him they could not embarrass all of the eminent engineers and scientists by changing their findings from the O rings. Of course, they did not want to admit that NASA had done something so bone-headed as to change the SRB without analyzing the potential problem with the extra holes.
So...the guilty party kept his bonus, the innocent at Thiokol were punished, and the Agency kept it’s reputation.
The lesson here is NEVER trust official accounts, Aviation Week, or politicians.
Oh, nooooo!!!!!! A GPS IIF satellite is being attacked by aliens and missiles!
Do any of you with more understanding of the problem think that NASA can correct this ‘glitch’ and get Voyager to go back to sending it’s data home correctly?
I have a 1973 Kenmore dryer that still works. In fact, I spray-painted it several years ago. Avocado died long before the dryer. LOL
Of course, instead believe un-sourced shti published on the internet.
I was there. I was a Shuttle engineer for 14 years.
You want a source? Go look at the drawings, but I’ll bet those got deep sixed.
Do you believe what you read in Aviation Week? I was in a meeting where my company (not North American) used to PLANT propaganda stories in it by paying off reporters to push our stuff. Do you trust the MSM?
If people had not talked, do you think that North American’s warnings to NASA before the Apollo fire would seen the light of day? NASA got away with blaming North American and they retired Harrison Storms, but eventually the truth came out that North American told NASA NOT to run a test at 17 PSI pure O2 with velcro all over the inside of the capsule.
Believe what you like. Every time I have been close to a major story, the press ALWAYS got it wrong. Journalists are lazy and normally believe what the guvmint tells them.
I worked on NASA projects for almost 20 years, and I have a high regard for the dedicated engineers who gave their all to our space program. However, every time there was a major foul up (Apollo fire, Challenger, Columbia) there was at least a partial cover up.
Good question. Pressure was applied by NASA to launch on schedule because they anticipated good PR from the school teacher on board.
Rocco Petrone, Rockwell’s Shuttle Division President, to his credit, advised against launching with 6 foot icicles hanging off the bird. Rockwell did not know about the SRB mods. They were concerned about having hundreds of pounds of ice striking the bird at near Mach 1.
Rockwell was pressured to OK the launch.
I was at a tech conference when they told us of the loss of Challenger. I turned to the guy next to me and said, “I’ll bet $100 it was an SRB burn-through”.
Do you know why the SRBs were designed to be in sections? Fletcher was the NASA Administrator when the Shuttle was designed. He was a Mormon from Utah and wanted to insure that the SRB refurb would be performed in Utah by Thiokol. They had to make the SRB in segments because the entire SRB could not fit through the railway tunnels. Thiokol and Hercules were in Utah because you could find factory workers who would not sneak a smoke around the rocket fuel (lots of Mormons available).
The SRB in sections was known to be high risk from the beginning of the program, but it was a political call to get jobs in Utah.
BTW, I was part of the team evaluating program risks and fixes AFTER Challenger. There were a number of line entries that said, “Risk of total loss of vehicle. Fix too expensive. No funding in budget. Risk categorized, probablity established. Risk accepted”.
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