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The Juno mission [message #653420] Tue, 05 July 2016 02:21 Go to next message
John Watson
Messages: 7183
Registered: January 2010
Location: Global Village
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Anyone following the news about this? I've been following space technology since working at the European Space Agency for a while last century. I am slightly involved with the Juno mission, I helped with setting up a database being used by the scientific team. Officially I'm still on call for it, though I would hope that the software freeze means it is stable now. It's a little two node stretched RAC, at the South West Research Institute in San Antonio.

Juno is a bit problematic, because it is solar powered. This is the first time solar power has been used for a satellite so far from the sun, but there was no option. Deep space satellites are usually powered by little atomic generators, but there is a world wide shortage of the plutonium needed to fuel them. An odd side effect of the ending of the cold war.
Re: The Juno mission [message #653423 is a reply to message #653420] Tue, 05 July 2016 03:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ThomasG
Messages: 3205
Registered: April 2005
Location: Heilbronn, Germany
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I like the valiant crew. ;-P

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Re: The Juno mission [message #653448 is a reply to message #653420] Tue, 05 July 2016 15:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Barbara Boehmer
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Registered: November 2002
Location: California, USA
Senior Member
I had not been following this, but it sounds interesting. Using a brief google search, I didn't find anything about a "software freeze". Can you provide the best link for following this?
Re: The Juno mission [message #653452 is a reply to message #653448] Wed, 06 July 2016 01:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
Messages: 7183
Registered: January 2010
Location: Global Village
Senior Member
"Freeze" may not be the terminology used in the US. A problem with space craft is that if anything goes wrong up there, it is probably impossible to fix and then a billion dollar project is history. So everything is tested to hell and back before launch, and after launch you don't change anything. That is the "freeze": total stability. Usually you apply the same incredibly rigid change control to what is called the "ground segment" too. The ground segment is all the terrestrial support structures.

They got Juno into a highly elliptical polar orbit no problem, and there is a transfer maneuver to reduce the eccentricity still to come. I think they have only one or two opportunities for that, before various moons get in the way. Then what seems to me to be the most problematic phase: powering up the instruments. It needs a lot of juice just to warm things up enough so that they will work at all, never mind produce useful data. I suspect that no-one really knows if enough solar power will be available. There may be great competition between the research teams for limited resources.
Re: The Juno mission [message #653468 is a reply to message #653420] Wed, 06 July 2016 13:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
desmond30
Messages: 20
Registered: November 2009
Junior Member
wow....sounds very complex...rocket science Smile
Re: The Juno mission [message #653487 is a reply to message #653468] Thu, 07 July 2016 02:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
gazzag
Messages: 906
Registered: November 2010
Location: Bristol, UK
Senior Member
I often wonder what the good people of NASA say when confronted with a problem. "Come on! How difficult can this be? This is not rocket science!" *awkward pause* "Er... yes it is, sir."
Re: The Juno mission [message #653489 is a reply to message #653487] Thu, 07 July 2016 02:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
Messages: 7183
Registered: January 2010
Location: Global Village
Senior Member
At ESA, the standard reaction to having to work with someone who was rude and obnoxious was to say "yes, but he's a rocket scientist".
Re: The Juno mission [message #653510 is a reply to message #653489] Fri, 08 July 2016 15:25 Go to previous message
Littlefoot
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Registered: June 2005
Location: Croatia, Europe
Senior Member
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Sounds like a "The Big Bang Theory" quote! (who would say it? Howard, in my opinion)

By the way, I saw a lot of plutonium on the parking lot of "Twin Pines Mall" early morning on 26th of October 1985.
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