Wednesday October 24, 2018
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NASA fires up engine to take astronauts to Mars

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Washington: As part of its ambitious Space Launch System (SLS), the US space agency has successfully tested an engine that will help propel astronauts on future deep-space missions, including Mars.

Photo Credit: www.ubergizmo.com
Photo Credit: www.ubergizmo.com

The 535-second test of RS-25 rocket engine at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, was aimed to collect engine performance data, the US space agency said in a statement.

An initial 77-tonne SLS configuration will use four RS-25 engines for the core stage, along with two five-segment solid rocket boosters, providing more lift to orbit than any current launch vehicle.

One final test of this RS-25 developmental engine is left and testing of flight engines will begin later this fall.

The core stage for the first SLS and Orion integrated flight will also be tested at Stennis.

That test will involve simultaneous firing of the four RS-25 engines just as during an actual launch.

Powered by four RS-25 engines, the SLS will send the Orion spacecraft into deep space missions.

“The RS-25 engine gives SLS a proven, high performance, affordable main propulsion system for deep space exploration,” NASA said.

It is one of the most experienced large rocket engines in the world, with more than a million seconds of ground test and flight operations time.

When completed, SLS will enable astronauts to begin their journey to explore destinations far into the solar system.
During the joint Senate-NASA presentation in September 2011, it was stated that the SLS programme has a projected development cost of $18 billion through 2017.

It will be divided into $10 billion for the SLS rocket, $6 billion for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and $2 billion for upgrades to the launch pad and other facilities at the Kennedy Space Center.

(IANS)

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Hubble Returns To Normal Functioning Soon: NASA

After the engineering tests have been completed, Hubble is expected to soon return to normal science operations, NASA stated

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NASA, space, red dwarf, hubble
Hubble's backup gyro, which had been off for more than 7.5 years, was incorrectly returning extremely high rotation rates. Flcikr

NASA has brought Hubble Space Telescope’s seven-year old backup gyroscope (gyro) back to life, after the spacecraft entered safe mode due to a failed gyro earlier this month, the US space agency said on Tuesday.

A gyro is a device that measures the speed at which the spacecraft is turning and is needed to help Hubble turn and lock on to new targets.

Hubble’s backup gyro, which had been off for more than 7.5 years, was incorrectly returning extremely high rotation rates, NASA said in a statement.

Hubble
The Hubble Telescope hovering in space. Wikimedia Commons

This gyro was turned on after the spacecraft entered safe mode due to a failed gyro on October 5.

Additional tests will be performed to ensure Hubble can return to science operations with this gyro, NASA said.

To correct high rotation rates, the Hubble team executed a running restart of the gyro on October 16.

This procedure turned the gyro off for one second, and then restarted it before the wheel spun down.

However, the data showed no improvement in the gyro’s performance.

Hubble Telescope. red dwarf
This gyro was turned on after the spacecraft entered safe mode due to a failed gyro on October 5. Flickr

The team, then on October 18, commanded a series of spacecraft maneuvers, or turns, in opposite directions to attempt to clear any blockage that may have caused the float to be off-centre and produce the exceedingly high rates.

During each maneuver, the gyro was switched from high mode to low mode to dislodge any blockage that may have accumulated around the float.

They noticed a significant reduction in the high rates, allowing rates to be measured in low mode for brief periods of time.

On October 19, the team again commanded Hubble to perform additional maneuvers and gyro mode switches, which appear to have cleared the issue.

NASA mars, UAE, Hubble
The planet Mars is shown May 12, 2016 in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope view when it was 50 million miles from Earth. VOA

The rotation rates produced by the backup gyro have since reduced and are now within an expected range, NASA noted.

Also Read: New Gamma-Ray Collection Named After Hulk, Godzilla: NASA

The team plans to execute a series of tests to evaluate the performance of the gyro under conditions similar to those encountered during routine science observations, including moving to targets, locking on to a target, and performing precision pointing.

After these engineering tests have been completed, Hubble is expected to soon return to normal science operations, NASA stated. (IANS)