Old 07-12-2008, 02:30 PM Offline   #1 (permalink)



 
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Default Ulysses Spacecraft Not Dead Yet

iminplaya sends in the good news that reports of the death of the Ulysses mission are premature. (We've discussed the impending shutdown of the 17-year-old mission a couple of times this year.) Ulysses is a joint NASA / ESA mission to study the sun from an orbit inclined almost 90 degrees from the ecliptic. From the Planetary Society blog post: "Ulysses is not dead yet. ESA issued a statement in February saying that, as Ulysses' radioisotope thermoelectric generators were running out of power, the spacecraft would likely die some time this year. The actual death blow to the spacecraft was likely to be the freezing of hydrazine fuel in a cold spot in a fuel line. Mission controllers found creative ways to prevent the freezing, but the solution was not a long-term one, and ESA had a ceremonial send-off and wrap-up of the mission in mid-June, announcing that the spacecraft would be shut down on July 1. However, it now appears that announcement was premature. ESA issued a statement on July 3 titled 'Ulysses hanging on valiantly.' And on Wednesday, the [Ulysses mission operations manager indicated] that Ulysses' voyage could actually continue for some time."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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