Frida Space

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About Frida Space

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    Launchpad Pioneer

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  • Location Italian in UK
  • Interests Planetary science, astrophysics, aerospace engineering

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  1. I thought the news I posted above on March 9 was an official and final decision, but apparently it wasn't... well, now it is: NASA just announced the launch is officially postponed to May 5th, 2018, with Mars EDL occuring on November 26th, 2018. So now it's official: InSight is safe. Delay costs are 153.8 million USD. The highlight of the article (but again, we kinda knew it already) is this sentence: "The additional cost will not delay or cancel any current missions, though there may be fewer opportunities for new missions in future years, from fiscal years 2017-2020." I wonder if they could still chose two Discovery missions in the next round, one of which would be a sort of "mini-Discovery" costing 400ish million USD to compensate for InSight's delay costs. Although I guess it would hardly cover the launch costs.... It feels to me like a bit of waste to throw away an entire Discovery mission because of additional costs of one fourth-fifth of the total budget.
  2. This is crazy: 67P seen from 4.5 km from its center - <2.5 km from the surface, that is! Image taken by OSIRIS on August 30. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
  3. Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta says OSIRIS-REx launch unaffected by Falcon 9 mishap.
  4. Lots of news out of Ceres. I read the five papers published just now on Science magazine and here are my highlights: Ahuna Mons, the 4 km tall, 17 km wide mountain, is probably a cryovulcano. This would explain the troughs and the crests at its feet and the landslides on its sides. It would have been formed by extrusion of a viscous, molten material, which would have been present along with some hydrated salts with low eutectic temperatures and low thermal conductivity. Ahuna Mons is surprisingly crater-free; this suggests its last activity took place as recently as 180-240 million years ago. Ceres's low density (2162 kg per cube metre) implies an abundance of water; this could be proven by the detection of hydroxyl (OH) and hydrated (H2O) minerals, like clays, carbonates and various salts. Indeed, Dawn has found hydroxyls; however, the news (not really new actually) is that it has seen all three absorption bands (1.28, 1.65 and 2.0 micrometres) typical of water in Oxo Crater, which is 10 km wide. Its high latitude, 44°, means it is in the shadow for most of the day, which is good for stabilising water. Several water transport and formation mechanisms have been proposed. From the most likely to the least: excavation of underground water (either through impacts or landslides or both), sublimation, extra-Cerean contamination and interaction with the solar wind. A six day-long acceleration in the solar wind's electrons could be explained by a transient atmosphere. I couldn't find an actual paper on this, but the NASA press release mentioned it, so here it is. Phillosilicates are very abundant. Their composition is the same all over Ceres; however, their abundance varies a bit. Low density regions, such as Yalode crater, are both smooth and rugged; high density regions, such as Kerwan, on the other hand, are only smooth. The depth-diameter ratio of several floor-fractured craters (FFCs) reveals that they are anomalously shallow; hence, scientists propose the terrain was uplifted following cryomagmatic intrusion. The crater morphology allowed scientists to study the relaxation of the surface, which appears to be impact-driven rather than internal/endogenic. The scientists conclude that Ceres's crust is nor pure ice nor pure rock, but rather a mix of the two which allows limited relaxation. Overall, all the studies imply acqueous alteration has been one of the main mechanisms that shaped Ceres. Interesting stuff!
  5. In case anyone wants to embed it here is a 2.5 MB Twitter-friendly gif I made from that video. Link to higher-res, not sped up version (44 MB). They do that at the customer's discretion. They've done it before for Dragon. It helps with the schedule (liftoff was planned for tomorrow) and, from what some people say, it also allows them to run basic tests on the satellite too.
  6. Crazy video (skip to 1 minute) Crazy how the fairing was almost intact.
  7. They have a backup site running fine - at least for now.
  8. Mr Musk has spoken... or tweeted: "Loss of Falcon vehicle today during propellant fill operation. Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon." Three years on this forum and I still don't know how to embed tweets. EDIT: Oh nevermind, apparently it does it automatically.
  9. I'm guessing the satellite used it for its reaction control system. Being the launch tomorrow, it's pretty normal for the satellite to be fully-fueled. As far as I know, it uses cold nitrogen.
  10. Just read that the Atlas V with OSIRIS-REx was inside the Vertical Integration Facility at the moment of the explosion. Still, I hope there is no damage to the launch complex 41. I guess it's very unlikely, but given OSIRIS-REx's 34 day launch window, I'm still crossing my fingers.
  11. Whether or not it counts towards the success/failure ratio doesn't really matter, other than for statistical purposes. If a problem is found within the Falcon 9, no one will really care that the explosion happened on the ground instead of in flight.
  12. Well, apparently now they're focusing on anomaly in ground systems during fueling of rocket for static fire test.
  13. Hopefully it won't affect OSIRIS-REx. I'm pretty sure it shouldn't, but still, terrible news. I feel sorry for Elon!
  14. In two days' time, Dawn will move to a new orbit at 1460 km (910 miles) from Ceres. Apparently, it is some sort of hydrazine-saving effort, as moving further out means less orbital control is needed. From what I understand, there will also be a change in Dawn's orbital inclination, allowing it to view Ceres from a slightly different perspective.